Walking into our neighborhood Post Office, the sight that hit my eyes threw me 30 years into the past.

First of all, this Post Office, located in the back of an antique store, has Mayberry R.F.D. written all over it.  From the note on the old wood and glass door that reads, “Close Me Behind You” to the vintage wooden counter, patrons feel as though they are back in the 1950’s.  Days when the clerk knew you by name and the packages were tied in twine.

I just needed to mail a small package to our niece who is hopefully enjoying her first summer at Kanakuk.  So I did a sly step to the front of the small line and mouthed a quick, “Will this go out today?” as I handed my letter to the clerk. I know that could seem rude, but the stagnant little line consisted of Miss Daisy (as in “Driving”) and Aunt Bea.  Let’s just say, a snail’s pace would be considered fast in their world.  They were confirming and reconfirming the proposed arrival date for their package, so I assumed the parties involved wouldn’t mind my letter slippage.

What caught my eye was Miss Daisy’s outfit.  She wore a fitted white blouse with a floral silk skirt.  The ensemble was capped by her proper slip persistently protruding below her hemline.  Hanging out for all the world to see.  Is that not so like a slip?!

Okay, how long has it been since you’ve seen or thought about a slip.  Please tell me you all remember slips.  I sure do.  Mostly my mom getting on me because I either forgot or chose not to wear the darn thing.  A slip almost always accompanied the dreaded panty hose as required attire.  More than anything a couldn’t stand those hose!

(I’ll never forget years ago, sitting across from my then boss, Marilyn Quayle, on a trip home from a whirlwind of stops.  I noticed her smart summer suit capped off by a cute pair of pumps … and NO HOSE!  The 2nd Lady of the United States with bare legs – and she was the guest of honor/speaker at these events.  Upon my inquiry (yeah, I went there), she replied, “Oh, I don’t wear hose from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  I swore them off years ago.” — I called my mother as soon as I got home.  Liberation!)

So, as I fake ignored Miss Daisy’s obvious wardrobe malfunction, I was struck at the difference between Mom’s and my “discussions” about outfits vs. mine & Speed Police’s.  These days, instead of slips or hose, teen wardrobes offer a few more challenges.  Primarily dealing with modesty.

Shirts are now “dresses”, showing cleavage is expected, mid-drifts are a must and the topper, in my book, bras are “shirts”.  I just don’t get it.  Do we wonder why teen pregnancies are so high?  With R-rated television shows, pole-dancing at neighborhood parties, uncensored talk about sexual activity at younger and younger ages, and so much more … the normalizing of seduction (even non-intentional) is much more prevalent and dangerous than we give it credit.

Like “PG-13” movies (see March entry “PG-13, the Modern Day R”), it really bothers me that when I point out a skirt might be too short, I get an earful of how I don’t trust her.  Either that or the silent treatment.  No matter, my efforts to enlighten and protect get a frigid reception.  But, we’ve got to stick to our guns.

Speed Police and I have an agreement.  A prerequisite to her purchasing an outfit, we both must agree.  This way she doesn’t have a closet of clothes not worn (clothes I would choose), and I can breathe easy as she walks out of the house.  It works for now.

(I love the strategy of our local school.  If a student arrives at school with a trendy, yet inappropriate outfit (shorts too short, shirt too revealing) no trip home to change for you.  They have a box full of lovely attire from which the sassy student can choose “new” clothes to wear for the day.  Think over sized and scarlet letter.  Let’s just say, they won’t be doing it again.)


Next errand stop, Kuby’s.  A wonderful German market just up the way from the Post Office.  Jon had called earlier letting me know we’d have guests for dinner, a pastor and his wife from Peru.   So I ran to pick up fixings for hamburgers, sauteed corn, roasted potatoes and some of our mouth-watering summer fruit…. give them a little taste of Texas.

As I made my way to check out, the cashier voiced concern for me, “You doin’ okay?”

I had a “You talkin’ to me?!” moment, looking back to see if anyone was behind me, then realizing she was in fact talking to me.

“Me?” I ask.

“Yeah, you look wiped.”

“Oh, I guess I’m tired.  …. It’s been a long day.”  It had been a long day.

She glanced at the two kids I had in tow, and knowingly nodded, “I’ve got a couple that keep me going at home, 4 & 6 year old boys.”

She went on to tell me about the tight ship she runs.  Her husband works nights, so they trade taking care of the kids.  She was in the midst of nipping any whining.  The six-year-old has started complaining when he doesn’t want to do something … like clean his room (!)  She went on to inform me that her kids help her with the cooking and do their own laundry (the 4-year-old needs a little help).  “Hey, when they’re grown and I go to their houses, I’m not planning on moving stuff off the couch to sit down!”, she told me.  I’m not kidding!

I didn’t tell her about our in-home-revolution.  Probably because I was a tad embarrassed, wishing I had started years earlier with equipping my kids.  What an inspiration.  I encouraged her to keep it up, holding my “You think it’s hard now, just wait until they’re teenagers” comment to myself.  I think if you start when your kids are young, maybe they won’t know they could live any other way.

So here’s a shout out to Miss Daisy and Kuby Cashier. Thanks for throwing me back to the days when modesty was normal and for solidifying the importance and relevance of our efforts here at the MOAT.  You guys Rock!!

Thanks for walking the road with me.

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