Monday, March 7, 2011

Improvisation

Last week when Matt was preparing to go to his Granddad in Little Rock, I packed a bag for him.  I do this sometimes to ensure that he arrives at his destination with more than boardgames and socks that were packed to cushion the boardgames. I only packed casual clothes, though, so when he was leaving, he got his suit out of the closet and checked to be sure he had tie, belt, etc.

A couple days later, I was in our closet getting my own things ready, when I happened to look over at Matt's side, where I espied his suit pants.  I thought, "Hmm, I wonder what pants Matt took with him?" He is a one blue suit and one tuxedo guy, so there were not lots of options. I grabbed the pants and took them along. 

Then we were in Little Rock, in our hotel room, getting dressed to go to Granddad's funeral.  The shirt he'd brought was a new one.  After taking the pins out, he said, "Should we iron this, or should I just keep my jacket on?"  I love that question.  And his liberal use of the word "we."  So he whipped the iron out and I did a quick but okay job.  I just hit the fold lines, you know.

Then he put it on and said, "Uh oh, this is a tuxedo shirt."  It had French cuffs and he hadn't brought any cufflinks. I could not think of anything to substitute for those, so I invoked Tim Gunn and told him to put on his jacket and make it work.

In the lobby, I asked his dapper cousin, Michael, if he had any cuff links. I mean, Michael had tied his own bowtie that morning. He looked like the guy to ask.  He had no cuff links, but he told me I could create some out of hair elastics. He produced two of them from his wife's stash and told me to tie them in little knots.  "They'll look just like the ones from Brooks Brothers!" he said. I was skeptical, but I did my best. And look, not bad!


You just tie a knot in the end of one of the skinnier kinds of hair elastics, and then put the little loop left hanging out over the knot you've made.  Thread it through the buttonholes and do the same on the other side. It got the job done. True, they were olive green, but I am practically certain nobody cared.

And in case you would like more narratives of people getting dressed, I wore The Hardest Working Dress in Show Business, a black floral number that I wore to my cousin's wedding.  This dress has truly been to four weddings and a funeral. It's good to have something you can always reach for, you know? For this occasion I added a black sweater and pearls.

And Laura wore an Easter dress and a white cardigan. I don't think anyone puts children in dark clothes for funerals, do they? I mean, unless you find yourself attending a service before 1901? This could be a regional thing. 

We trekked up to Hector, Arkansas, for a wonderful graveside service led by a close family friend, then back down to Little Rock for a memorial.  There were many happy, celebratory moments.  I loved seeing all the family.

And I think that how nice we looked is the reason that the state trooper who pulled us over for speeding between the burial and the memorial did not give us a ticket.  I like to think those hairband cuff links played a role.

10 comments:

Veronica said...

Sounds like it was lovely and you all looked lovely! Those cufflinks worked remarkably well! Patrick is a french cuff shirt/cufflink guy, even with his navy suit; he always packs them in one of the pairs of socks he uses to cushion the board games. ;-)

A Day That is Dessert said...

Cuff links can help with anything, I think. And, I've never seen a child dressed in black for a funeral. We would've put the boys in their Christmas or Easter outfit, whichever fit best at the time.

Jenni said...

Glad things went well. I've missed you!

Elizabeth said...

Powerful and sweet -- this homage to your husband and his granddad. You've managed to give us a glimpse into your marriage with so few words --

Keely said...

I saw a hack for cufflinks online using bulldog clips, the chrome kind for paper, just a couple of days ago. Weird. I like the hair elastic ones though.

Char said...

what a great idea/save. i'm keeping that one in the play book

Amy said...

I love your Matt-fashion-crisis stories. And the socks to cushion board games packing style always makes me laugh! Those are some great looking cufflinks though! Lucky she had dark colored hair elastics. Mine are always borrowed from Ava, and are pink or purple.

Crystal said...

Love the cufflinks, too cool. And I too love the "we" statements ;).

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

this tip is so timely. harv is on a business trip and called in a panic that he did not bring any cufflinks. i told him to go down to the front desk and ask for tape. it's the classy girl in me.

Amy said...

Hairband cufflinks are definitely going in the "wups" cache for me. Thanks to you - and Patrick!

Here's my story: circa 1992, my date forgot his tux tie for a very formal event. I whipped a black elastic hat band off a (relatively new) fishin' hat (we were staying lakeside) & stitched it so it was a simple black band 'round his collar. He told everyone it was a recent European style - and had sufficient BS quotient to garner some sincere compliments. I laughed all night.