The Raven Lunatic, July 6, 2015 — We anticipated the family wedding for months. Our great-nephew was engaged to a beautiful girl from Cincinnati and we “saved the date” for nearly two years.
We are a small family; our son is five months younger than our great-nephew. We’ve shared many family occasions, and wouldn’t miss this wedding for anything. Our son flew in from the East Coast with his girlfriend.
I haven’t worn a dress since my mother’s funeral three years ago; a dress was right for this special event. I found the perfect dress. A wedding is the bride’s day, but this great-aunt didn’t want to look out of place or odd. At least that was my goal.
Packing for the trip I found a drawer of slips, and choose a black lacy item that seemed appropriate.
When you are 119 years old, you do things the old school way. Panty hose and slips are a tradition from the last century as old-fashioned as fountain pens and thank you notes. And I am as old-fashioned as fountain pens and thank you notes, so I wore both a slip and panty hose to the wedding.
Getting this old broad in presentable shape takes some time. Thankfully, putting on panty hose was no battle after my recent skirmish with compression hose before over-the-pond eight hour flights, But, two hours before the evening wedding I discovered a problem. Hems go up and down and the slip that went well with the funeral dress was four inches too long for the dress for the wedding.
No problem. I’m inventive and creative.
I’m wearing control top panty hose, right? I stuffed four inches evenly into the control top.
We took pictures with the son and his girlfriend in the hotel lobby before leaving for the church. All good. We looked mar-vee-luss as Fernando said on Saturday Night Live.
The wedding was high church which meant we stood up and sat down a lot.
With each liturgical rising, the slip lowered about a half an inch.
You figure it out. Hour long wedding, four inches of lace hanging south of the border.
Now this isn’t my first rodeo with slips. There’s a story that gets retold about my stuffing the back of my dress and slip into my panty hose. I was attending my best friend’s Ball State graduation. I walked down Calvert Street from my Jackson Street apartment three blocks to her house. I was 22 and thinner and impressed with the unusual number of catcalls from the college men lounging in front of their apartments that Saturday morning. When I walked into my friend’s apartment, everyone fell apart laughing at me.
I remind you that I’m old-fashioned — which means on that day in 1980 I was wearing underwear with the panty hose. Some people don’t. I do. Thank God.
Back to the reveal.
What was I going to do? The wedding ceremony was over and my slip was hanging out evenly below my above-the-knee dress. The dress featured a navy blue border. Everyone was looking at the happy couple and no one looked at the clunky great-aunt clearly out of dress code.
No problem. If I just stayed cool I could get out of the crowded church to the car and pull the slip off. There were more than two hundred people in the church, all crowded together. Absolutely no one would see this. I suspect I could zip line over the crowd and still the gaze would be at the lovely couple.
Then my plan fell apart when the entire family was called back in for pictures. The gracious couple wanted family groups of everybody, even great aunts and uncles. This clearly pleased us and we were honored and grateful.
What could I do? The family returned to the sanctuary. As we got closer to picture time, I realized we were headed for the altar in front of God and everybody.
I removed myself into the narthex, looked in every direction, whipped that sucker right off and casually walked back into the sanctuary with the wadded-up slip in my hand. I tossed to the son’s girlfriend and another nephew’s girlfriend who weren’t going to be in the pictures. So, I just met the son’s girlfriend yesterday. Is it a wonder he’s kept us from her when I’m such a freak of nature?
We all returned happily to the reception. Here’s hoping the backlighting doesn’t have a big reveal through my dress. Guess we’ll know in a few weeks.
Every family has a crazy great aunt. I guess in this generation, it’s me.
Amy McVay Abbott is a crazy great aunt and nostalgia writer from the Midwest, who waxes frequently and not-often-poetically about life in Indiana, past and present. She's the author of three books. Visit her website at www.amyabbottwrites.com.