Monday, August 31, 2009

Gold-plaid jumpers

That's me...circa 1968. There's a perfectly good reason for the bluish tint to my skin.

It all started when my aunt, Mimi, took me and two of my girl cousins--Denise and Lisa--shopping for school clothes.

Every year, she would get one of her brothers or sisters-in-law to take us all the way from Kimberly to downtown Birmingham, where we would shop at Sears Roebuck, New Ideal and, sometimes, even the fancy Pizitz.

I LOVED shopping at Pizitz. Or, I guess I should say, I loved eating at Pizitz. They had a restaurant on something called the "mezzanine," and you could sit there and eat AND watch people shopping on the first floor below you. Mimi would always take us to "Breakfast with Santa Claus" at Pizitz...but that's another story for another time.

Anyway, that particular year, my cousins spied a gold-and-brown plaid jumper with a pleated skirt, and decided it would be "so cute" for us to get matching ones. Only problem was it didn't come in "chubby" sizes. But I'd-be-dadgummed if I was gonna walk out of that store without a matching gold-plaid jumper. (I've always been a little stubborn that way.) So, I sucked in and sucked in some more, and Mimi somehow got that jumper to zip.

On school-picture day, it had been pre-determined that us three would wear our matching jumpers. So, that morning, I skipped the daily biscuits-and-gravy breakfast in hopes the zipper might be a little more forgiving.

It wasn't....Had it not been for a near-meltdown on my part, mama would have given up and made me wear something else. But, eventually, between the two of us--me suckin'-in and mama zipping--we finally got me in that thing.

(And now you understand the bluish tint to my face in the picture above.)

I think I remember the photographer taking a picture of us three together in our matching jumpers for our Mimi. But I couldn't find that picture anywhere.

Shortly after picture day, the zipper on that poor little jumper blew completely out. Fortunately, for me, this happened at home and not in front of Roger Nichols.

What is it about me and clothes? I attach so much self-esteem to pieces of cloth. There's this skirt that's been hanging in my closet for 5 years. It has never once fit...not even with Spanx. Truth be told, it's what keeps me walking up and down the hills of Mallard Bay and stepping on that dadgum scale. Why don't I just give it to Goodwill and go eat me some biscuits and gravy?

I'll tell you why...because that would be admitting defeat. That would be like walking out of that downtown-Birmingham-store without my matching gold-plaid jumper. So...that skirt will probably hang in my closet until the moths turn into a banquet or until someone comes out with turbo-charged Spanx.

It occurs to's pretty much the same story with my "spiritual clothes."

I'm told that, as a follower of Christ, I am "clothed" in Him. But, truth be told, most days that garment just doesn't seem to fit.

Of course, it's always there--beckoning me, encouraging me to keep walking, to keep believing, to keep wearing.

Many days, my pride and selfishness cause me to bust the zipper wide open. But, then, my "Dresser" simply says, "Come here. Give it to me. I'll make it good as new. And, one day, it will fit just right."

At the end of the movie "Nanny McPhee," there's a scene where the poor maid, Evangeline, is about to be married to the handsome Mr. Brown. As she stands there, looking down at her pitiful dress, she says to Nanny McPhee, "But, I don't look much like a bride." To which Nanny declares, "Oh, but you will, child. Oh, but you will." Evangeline walks toward her loving groom...step-by-step...her dingy, ill-fitting dress is transformed into a glistening for a bride.

So, I keep wearing...I keep walking...I keep hoping and praying and growing...step-by-step in my ill-fitting garment...believing that one day...when I see will finally fit just right.
"Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!"
"We know that when these bodies of ours
are taken down like tents and folded away,
they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven
--God-made, not handmade--....
Sometimes we can hardly we cry out in frustration.
Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here
seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack,
and we're tired of it!
We've been given a glimpse of the real thing,
our true home, our resurrection bodies!
The Spirit of God whets our appetite
by giving us a taste of what's ahead.
He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so we'll never settle for less."
(Romans 13:14 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, The Message)


  1. My name is Kyle and I just finished reading "My Cousin Barney is a Liar". It was hilarious! My uncle Mike sent me the link! Barney is MY cousin too! He's a great guy and very funny himself!!
    Kyle Pannell

  2. Kyle, glad you enjoyed it! You're right--cousin Barney is a hoot!