Once upon a time in a previous existence, when I drove a 30-mile commute, I took a skirt and sweater to work and hung it on the back of my office door, intending to change into it for an evening meeting.

The meeting, however, didn’t take place, and when I left for the day, I forgot to take the clothes with me. When I returned the next morning, they had disappeared.

I was devastated. I had no emotional attachment to the sweater, but the skirt comprised one-half of the best-looking and -fitting business suit I’ve ever owned. Since I’d paid more than $3.98 for it, I held it in high financial regard as well.

When I noticed it was missing, I called an informal staff meeting dedicated to the question, “Where do you think my clothes got off to?” WB, JT, and I nominated a certain  individual who came in after hours. ME dissented.

“I don’t want to offend you,” she said. “If JT’s clothes had been stolen, I’d say you’re right. But the things you and I wear are sort of–stodgy. I can’t imagine anyone stealing them.”

I wasn’t offended. I knew that by including herself in that assesment, ME was trying to spare my feelings.

Her wardrobe is, in fact, anything but stodgy. She is always beautifully turned out. If I’d seen a suit hanging on her office door, I’d have been sorely tempted to grab it and run.

Well, finally, I have my opportunity, and I don’t have to sneak.

Hearing me moan that I have NOTHING to wear on the upcoming cruise, ME opened her closet to me. I came away loaded with blouses and vests. She loaned me a black velvet top to wear with my black velvet skirt (yes, I DO have some things of my own; the “NOTHING” was an exaggeration), and a stack of sweaters, and a knit cap and gloves. She says that Halifax is cool this time of year.

And the piece de resistance–a long teal muffler which, properly draped, makes me look like a mystery writer.

This is not the first time ME has helped me out in matters sartorial. Nine years ago, when I announced I would spend Christmas vacation in Washington, D.C., and New York City, she issued a direct order: shop. Wool slacks and socks. Heavy sweaters. Turtlenecks. Silk long undies. Shoes designed  for stepping out into slush. A hat.

I took the advice. If I hadn’t, I’d have turned into an ice sculpture before we hit the Maryland line.

But my selections, though serviceable, were–stodgy.

On the cruise, however, I shall be chic, elegant, smart. I shall be the epitome of style, sophistication, and pizzazz.

When I board the plane bound for the Carnival Triumph, New England and Canada, Boston and St. John, decked out in ME’s best bib and tucker, I will shake all stodge from my feet.

I will leave it where it belongs. In Texas.


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