Sunday, February 18, 2007

Loveliness

I have come to the conclusion that in this deteriorating, multicult world there are few things worth preserving. Certainly not the popular culture driven fads the kiddies adopt that will make their digital snapshots an embarrassment to them just a few years from now, as the vertical bangs worn by high school trendoids in the early '90s now invoke only the response "How did they get their hair to DO that?" (Cardboard bang supports and jugs of hairspray are the answers, in case anyone out there cares.)

After years of being buried deep in the pit of "what's happening now", also known as the public school system, I have come to yearn for this thing called loveliness that I seem to remember existed at one time.

At one time young ladies would not dream of wearing a pair of blue jeans to school; now we are simply glad they do not wear their pajamas (except during spirit week) and carry their well-worn and obviously well-loved stuffed critters from class to class.

At one time a church lady would not think about wearing a pantsuit to services; now the congregation is a sea of drab denim, spaghetti straps, and bare flesh. Painted floozies wear crosses that dangle over ample cleavage and soccer moms wear the same shorts they will wear later on that Sabbath to the game.

But that's not too bad, their husbands are wearing flip-flops and surfer shorts, and the minister (please note the lower case m) wears the best shirt Hawaii has to offer. If asked about their clothing choices, one and all would whine, "But it's COMFORTABLE!"

Now men aren't supposed to be lovely, but there's something to be said for the natty look of a blue blazer, white shirt, and red silk tie.

But I digress.

In some parts of this country, in some traditions (need I breathe the word Southern?), loveliness is still cherished and clung to. Perhaps you think I speak of something long vanished, but I can verify it still exists, having lived within it prior to my purgatorial existence here in lala land.

I verify:

There are churches in the South where the children arrive dressed in freshly ironed, neatly smocked dresses that mama sewed from scratch.

There are academies whose youthful graduates (the same age as my flesh-baring midriff girls) wear fine, white heirloom dresses for the graduation ceremony.

There are girls whose innocence shows in a clear eye and ready blush, who will not brush a gentleman off when he offers to open the door.

There are older ladies whose skin, though wrinkled, and hair, though white, remain neatly groomed. Such ladies inspire respect. No wonder no one would dare to call these ladies by first name only. Miss Hermione, never Hermione, dude.

There are gentlemen who always wear a jacket...at least outside. God blessed us with seersucker for a reason, the reason being the strident humiditity of Southern summers. But even the worst humidity will not prevent a gentleman from showing himself as such.

Y'all can choose which picture you present in your digital snapshots. Will it be the image of drably colored decadence? Or fresh and crisp Southern loveliness?

You choose.

11 comments:

GRITS(GirlRaisedInTheSouth) said...

"God blessed us with seersucker for a reason, the reason being the strident humiditity of Southern summers."

Oh, so true...

David McCrory said...

The Lord has blessed me with one of those Southron churches you've so eloquently described.

Laurel1861 said...

I pray that one day in my own future I am once again blessed with a church like that.

My own church here in purgatory is not so bad as the one I first attended out here in the "other' South...Southern California, which was the model for the church of ugliness I described. Still, it is no challenge to the loveliness of a true Southron church.

God bless,
Laurel

David McCrory said...

May one day the good Lord will see fit to bring you back to God's country where you can find a sound church.

Scorebored said...

Laurel, I've been derelict in my duty to tell you what a lovely essay "Loveliness" is; thank you so much for writing and posting it.

When I was a young man, I would have a curious experience every spring. As soon as the air warmed and the sun regained his power and the buds and birds made their respective floral and faunal appearances, my thoughts would inexorably turn towards...motorcycles. I would think, "You know, I need to buy a motorcycle." Remembering wind-soothed days of my youth, I would fantasize and covet and drool for a week or two, and then I would return to reality and buy something needful instead of something Harley-Davidsonful.

(Incidentally, I knew that I had reached middle age when a certain spring arrived and I thought of honeysuckles before I thought of motorcycles.)

But now I have to confess that your observations about seersucker suits has brought out a powerful yearning similar to the one I once had for motorcycles. The one material possession I want (covet?) more than any other is a serviceable seersucker suit. I had one when I was too young to appreciate it, but unlike the motorcycle, the seersucker may very well do me more yeoman service in my grizzled years than in my salad days. No consignment shop or thrift store is safe from my search.

Again, thank you for the essay. And remind me sometime to tell you (in a private email) about what happened recently when I rebuked a young woman for wearing, well, unlovely clothing.

Laurel1861 said...

Thanks, Scorebored, for your kind comments.

I think we all have our longings, whether for Harleys or lovely light seersucker suits; me, I long for the company of my true friends and a vista free from the multicult madness I see out here every day.

I have a story about Harleys, back alleys, and my cousin I will share with you one day. I am sure he was not wearing a seersucker suit at the time!

God bless,
Laurel

p.s. Your way with words perfectly fits into the loveliness I tried to put into my little post. How nice it is to have the comments be even better than my own words!

...My Brothers' Keeper said...

Wow. All I can say is "wow". Sadly, people my own age right here in Dixie weren't fortunate enough to be raised by my father, and thus don't appreciate the finer points of being Southern. This one piece does away with all the times I was accused of being overdressed by my peers. Then again, these are the same peers I find myself avoiding today, either because I don't want to end up in the county lock-up or because I wouldn't let my corpse get caught within a country mile of a wigger. I'm from a very small town, so the problem of deciding whether to be polite and say hello to a wayward childhood friend or turn my back because they disgust me and they refuse to be corrected, even gently, is presented on a daily basis. Thank you for the warm welcome. May I link to your blog?

Laurel1861 said...

To My Brother's Keeper,

You seem like a young man with finer instincts and good training. Being overdressed is a relative concept. Compared to the tendency of certain young people to be VERY underdressed, sometimes to the point of embarrassment for those of us who are forced to view them, being somewhat overdressed is a blessing.

Of course you may link to my blog.

God bless,
Laurel

...My Brothers' Keeper said...

I really didn't think of it like that. Now that you mention it, though, whenever I see a white "man" (if you must consider adulthood based on age rather than maturity) here dressed like a rapper my face gets hot. Embarrassment, maybe, but always overshadowed by disbelief, curiosity and anger. Always in that order and always evolving within a second or two. While the young ladies here haven't quite fallen into the "fashion" trap yet, they do spend a considerable amount of energy doting on said victims of black culture. We all know damn well where that road leads.

CWNY said...

Hi Laurel, I've been enjoying your posts. Thanks too for your comments on my blog. (And feel free to link to it, by the way.)

I'm sorry to hear you live in California. No state is particularly pleasant to live in these latter days of Western civilization, but it seems to me California would be the worst.

-CWNY

Laurel1861 said...

CWNY: About California, you couldn't be more correct. The worst thing about California is not the hideousness I have described, but the fact that so many people, my family members included, who go on and on about how WONDERFUL it is here.

Usually they mean the weather. Sometimes I think that is all they see, and somehow are blinded to the very obvious flaws of this purgatorial place (I use the term purgatory in the sense of it's a place of purification for me, and when I've suffered enough, God will allow me to go somewhere NORMAL.) (Yes, I know, purgatory is a Catholic concept, but so far I haven't come up with a good Calvinist concept that fits the experience that is California.)

Thanks for letting me link to your blog, CWNY. I am most appreciative.

Happy Resurrection Sunday,
Laurel