Sunday morning I sat with a group of people at a round table as we talked about the wise and foolish decisions we have made in our lives; how you don’t always know at the time which kind you are making. (This was at church and we were parsing the parable about the builder who builds upon rock as against the builder who builds upon sand.)

Because we didn’t all know each other some small talk entered into our discussion and it was revealed that one of our number had moved here recently from the south. Somebody asked him if people in New England where we all live really are standoffish.

I can’t tell because I was born here. Also I’m pretty sure I am not standoffish myself.

But most of the people at the table were not New England born and they said right away that we were prickly – prickly! – but once you got to know us we would be your friend for life. Your real friend, they said, not a surface friend, which I took to mean a friend you can relax around; a friend to whom you can admit how sad and screwed up you sometimes feel.

I know I love people who freely admit they don’t have it all together. The effort of presenting that perfect façade otherwise is so, so…. immense, you know? Think of how you agonized as a teen about whether you fell within the bounds of normal. Think how you worried about your clothes. I had only one pair of hosiery the fall of my 10th grade year and along about October they got a run in them. I stopped it run with clear nail polish but you could still see it when I sat down and my skirt rode up, so I spent the two months – from October until Christmas vacation – pointing to the run and saying “Darn! Look at this run! My desk must have done it when I went to get up!” Exhausting stuff all that subterfuge!

Maybe all this is just my way of saying to you guys that I’m sorry for all the mistakes in my copy last Friday (since corrected.)  I must have been in one of those waking sleeps when I posted that flawed version for a better edited version. It’s like I was in one of those Ambien trances you hear about where people get up and mow the lawn at 3 in the morning and remember nothing about it the next day. Anyhow my blogger pal Brian let me know right away with his signature “Dude! Typos!” alert in the subject line of his email. What I would do without Brian I do not know.

I accomplish a lot in the course of a day but I’m often sort of scattered. As I looked at picture of Inaugural gowns for yesterday’s post I had to smile at this one below, showing the wardrobe of Frances Cleveland, old Grover’s wife: One full gown and then two gowns that are only half gowns. That’ll be me any day now: stepping out into the thoroughfare minus my skirt.

forget something frances

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