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.