This weekend, granddaughter Rainey drove more than an hour out of her way to visit us in Asheville. Ray and I were thrilled. She had been with friends in Johnson City, Tennessee, and was returning to Knoxville where she is a sophomore at UT.
She called us that morning – right after her decision to visit with us – and we invited her to stay overnight. We were even more thrilled when she said yes. Ray and I decided to take her out to dinner in downtown Asheville.
She arrived mid-afternoon, beautiful as always, dressed in short shorts and a tee shirt carrying a small bag. We hugged, we talked, we began catching up on her college stories and, bundled into one of our fleece jackets, she accompanied her grandfather as he took Lexie on her afternoon walk.
Around 5:00pm, Rainey casually mentioned that she didn’t have anything else to wear to dinner. She hadn’t anticipated needing anything when she headed out with her girlfriends.
Can I wear something of yours, Grandma Cathy?
I knew immediately that this would be a problem. Rainey is about 5’ 3”. I’m over 5’ 7”. She wears a size 0. I wear a size 12. She weighs about 100. I weigh…. never mind!
Maybe a sundress or something? she said innocently.
A sundress? When was the last time I wore a sundress? 1985? And, even if I had one, it would definitely be a Large and she would need a Small if not an Extra Small.
I’ll come with you to your closet and we can find something! She said brightly.
I knew immediately that this exploration of my closet would prove embarrassing. I was wracking my brain for anything I might have kept buried in a drawer somewhere that could work. An old pair of leggings? A blouse that didn’t fit anymore?
I reluctantly accompanied her to the closet and watched as she began pushing hangars aside to check out the selections. Looking through her eyes, I saw how big the pants were, how drab the colors were (lots of black) and how big everything was – and I mean everything.
Things were looking bleak and I was feeling ill. Wasn’t there anything that could work? Was I going to have to admit that it would be better for her to wear short shorts and a tee shirt on a cool evening in Asheville than to put anything of mine on her tiny body? Would she remember forever that she couldn’t find anything to wear in her Grandma Cathy’s closet?
And then a miracle happened. I saw it: a dark blue silk pull-over blouse that I had worn earlier in my life over matching slacks. The slacks had gone to Goodwill many years ago, but I had saved the blouse – “just in case”. Well, it was just in case time.
The blouse was over 30 inches long, and Rainey was excited. Perfect length, I thought.
I could wear it with a belt to make it shorter! Do you have a belt I could use?
I opened my belt drawer, once again eyeing all of the Large size stretch belts. But Rainey saw the chain belt before I did and determined that she could wrap it around her body – probably more than once.
Perfect! She said.
And it was. She looked beautiful and elegant. She had a new silk “dress” that she would wear with her pretty sandals. Voila! She was ready to go to dinner.
Well, almost ready. The blouse/dress was silk and wouldn’t provide much insulation for the cool night, so we went on a mission to my coat closet. Fortunately, I had a beautiful new silky black jacket that fits me perfectly as a jacket. It became a big slouchy silk coat for Rainey. She was set!
So, my blouse became a dress and my jacket became a coat.
And, hopefully, that’s all Rainey will remember of Grandma Cathy’s closet until one of her own granddaughters puts her through the same embarrassing closet raid someday!