Monthly Archives: August 2016

Father Knows Best

In our family, the one most likely to brag about his clothes is my husband. Never mind that our youngest daughter took fashion design. He is a man of serious fashion conviction.

So one day last week, my daughter was reading her book and I was working on my novel, when Clarence sat bolt upright and called for everyone’s attention. His tone was urgent, and I became mildly alarmed. Mildly, because…well. We’ve been together a while.

My husband had just read a fashion article that begged sharing. He was resting on the sofa, his retirement beard rivaling the Una bomber’s, Hawaiian shirt half unbuttoned, and his relaxed fit, twelve pocket, khaki shorts sporting a hole in one leg, when he proceeded to share Jessica Alba’s fashion tips for success.

Excitedly, (because, for mind boggling reasons, he finds this stuff interesting) he read the following list aloud.

#1. Sometimes, a statement coat is all you need. Michelle’s eyes met mine. We both thought about the ancient postal worker’s parka he’d bought at a Thrift Store, saying, “It’s so warm! And rare!”

#2. A little leopard print never hurt anyone. Really? At my age, it might be mistaken for cougar print.

#3. Bare a little skin but wear your hemline low. Yeah, I’m not baring anything but my feet. Maybe in summer, my lower legs. And a calf length hemline makes me look like a cult member from Texas.

#4. A hat helps everything. Well, not me or my brother. We tend to look like we have double digit IQ’s and deliver flyers for a living. I wear one gardening because I burn easy, but that’s pretty much it.

#5. Traveling is no excuse not to look stylish. Yeah? Try a fourteen hour car trip from Calgary to Winnipeg. My idea of stylish is bringing a bib ,so if I spill my smoothie, I don’t have to change my clothes and end up with no underwear like that other time. You know which one.

Thank you, Jessica Alba. In a perfect world, with thousands of dollars to spend and with a completely different body, these tips would change my life. Except for the fact that I don’t care. I want to, kind of. But not really. On the other hand, father may not know best about fashion, but he certainly knows how to make me laugh. I have to thank Jessica for that, too.

Small Town Gal

(Full Disclosure – I wanted to title this blog ‘Small Town Girl,’ but grown women aren’t supposed to use those terms. So in support of political correctness, I’m going with the aging cowgirl description. Anyway, onward.)

I love Winnipeg. I love Calgary. The cities of Manhattan, London and Paris have all filled me with joy. But Flin Flon holds my heart tight in its hockey mitted, art infused, fist. For those who live here, no explanation is necessary. For my out of town readers, please. Allow me to tell you why.

When my children were young, I ordered large boxes of dried soymilk from British Columbia and sold the surplus. With my white, powder filled baggies in hand, I headed to my local post office. “Kirsten,’ I said, to a longtime employee everyone knows. “Would you weigh this product so I can figure out what to charge?’ Raising her eyebrow just the tiniest bit, she did. It didn’t occur to me until much later that a stranger might have found the whole activity suspicious. But we have an awesome post office, as everyone with any kind of business knows.

On another occasion, my family arrived at the drive-in movie theater without any money. Bill Leafe, the owner, waved us in, and the next time we went, wouldn’t let us pay him back. The same thing happened to my dad and father in law. They were excited about the movie, ‘Titanic,’ and BillĀ  was so happy to see them there, he wouldn’t take their money. Later, he had to go and wake them up because it was over and everyone else had left. They missed the part where the ship went down, so he took some time to explain the whole, ‘I’ll never let you go,’ love scene.

I don’t have to dress up for anyone in Flin Flon, which is a really big deal to me. I can if I want to. But I don’t have to, except for weddings and events like the Royal party where we all wore fancy hats and celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee. As we nibbled on dainty sandwiches and drank tea, we waved to each other with gloved hands. The local cadets, scouts, and Knights of Columbus dressed to the nines and waited on everyone. It was a blast. But seriously, people only comment on an outfit if it’s really cold outside and you don’t look warm enough.

We have a lot going on in town. Hockey games, community social events sponsored by various service clubs like Rotary, Kinnettes and more. The arts council brings in plenty of entertainment and there are Home Routes concerts, Community Choir musicals and so much more that, frankly, my card is always full. As I said, I love Manhattan. But because I’m from Flin Flon, I don’t just go there. I sing there. At Carnegie Hall. Or Lincoln Center. With my choir, of course, but still. No way would that happen if I lived in Winnipeg, because then I’d have to audition. No thank you.

It’s the little things that add up to a great life. Just ask the people who had to move away. Most would come back if they could. After a vacation, I love driving down the hill into Creighton or heading into Flin Flon on number ten. Everything is just as it should be. There’s the Hooter. The Flin Flon campground. The main streets with most of the same old stores and faces I’ve been seeing my whole life.

It’s not that I don’t celebrate new things. I do. I just like the old things better. But then, I already confessed to being a small town girl. Gal. That’s the just way I roll.