Winters are cold in Minnesota, often stretching from October to May. This year, we've had a relatively mild winter, it's only gotten snowy and cold the last few days of December 2015.
Most people in the Midwest have two wardrobes. Thick warm layers are a necessity when temperatures can dip so far below zero. Don't even get me started on windchill.
Like many people I traveled over the holidays, and Christmas Day took me to beautiful Southeast Minnesota. The driftless region, so-named because of the glaciers that bypassed the area back in the last ice age. Tall bluffs and creeks abound. The family and friends we visit down there all live in Fillmore County. For the few people familiar with Minnesota's license plate (which reads land of 10,000 lakes), Fillmore County has the distinction of being the only county without a lake. It's really pretty there. Picturesque.
Packing for our trip was frantic and fast. We had just dropped my daughter Mabel at the airport for her school's marching band trip to San Diego. I think I packed in 10 minutes. Knowing we'd go to church on the coming Sunday, I brought along a knit dress (stretchy fabric is handy when you've overindulged in lefse), and I opened my drawer of black tights and grabbed a pair.
An entire drawer of black tights? What's the deal? Am I the Immelda Marcos of tights? No dear reader. Tights are a requisite for winters in Minnesota, and the drawer is not that big. Besides wearing them under skirts and dresses, I often wear them under pants and jeans for an additional layer of warmth.
The famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud posited that there are no accidents. Our subconscious makes choices for us. Humbug.
I grabbed some black tights. I packed.
Two days later, I was getting dressed to go to church, and I realized my dilemma. Somehow, I had packed a pair of child's tights. My guess, (since I'd love someone to share the blame for this predicament) is that my daughter shoved them in my drawer when she found them in her drawer and realized they no longer fit her. The tights would fit the average 10 year old.
My options were slim. Worn jeans and sweatshirt (good for travel, not so good for church), or wear the tights and walk funny. I chose the latter.
The tights came up to mid-thigh, and my black knit dress was long enough to cover up what was going on. The icy parking lot was perfect, because small careful steps were appropriate. It was only midway through the service that other factors came into play.
The tensile strength of your typical tights lasts for about 5 years. Undue stress can also make elastic expire. The waistband on my tights was taking a beating, by stretching beyond what they were intended to do. I think those tights took a huge sigh after twenty minutes and decided to just give up.
Here comes the part where I did some of my finest acting. There was communion. You walk up the aisle, you kneel, you walk back. Logistically it was a challenge. By pulling the tights up as far as possible and taking very small steps up and back, I was able to avoid dropping my tights in front of the entire congregation of Highland Prairie Lutheran Church.
There's a movie poster from 1943, advertising a movie called Song of Bernadette, starring Jennifer Jones. I tried to channel the spirit of Jennifer Jones. I stepped very slowly toward the alter, with a beatific gaze on my face, as though I was contemplating the miracle and wonder of the season. . . knowing at any moment, with one misstep, my tights would be around my ankles.
Did I make it? Yes I did. Not even my husband Glenn realized what was going on, until we'd sat down in our car and I hiked my skirt up a couple of inches to show him what I'd been dealing with.
I may not make much money, but I'm always good for a laugh.