Friday, October 24, 2014

The Dress

I told my classes this week how much I miss my folks and they will miss theirs some day. This is about Mom and Meagan, from November 28, 2010.

It was the main thing I wanted from my parents' home when they passed away. When my mom's brother, my Uncle Bill, was in high school, he built a cedar chest for her. It was always in Mom's and Dad's bedroom, always at the foot of the bed. For the past two years, the chest sat in Dave's garage in Wichita. Until last spring, I drove a Toyota Corolla with no way to move it to Houston without considerable cost. In fact, the chief consideration in purchasing my Honda Fit last April was that there was enough interior room to accommodate the chest on its trip to Texas. And so yesterday, Mom's cedar chest and I traveled the six hundred and twenty miles from Kansas and it now resides in my apartment. Do you know what's amazing? It still smells like cedar when you open the cover, even after more than five decades. As I spent time at my brothers' homes last week, I noticed that I still see our folks' furniture and keepsakes as out of place, even in the living rooms of their children. Dave and Sally have our parents' china cabinet filled with the china they acquired when they were married but I still visualize it in a house in Nebraska. I feel the same about that cedar trunk now that it belongs to me.

As we were measuring the chest and my car to see if it would fit, we lifted the lid and looked inside. There were some family pictures, a board game, and my father's PhD graduation gown hat and tassels from the University of Nebraska. There was something else- our mother's wedding gown, wrapped in plastic. We weren't sure what to do with it since none of us had claimed it. But Scott had an idea- he thought Meagan should try it on. My niece, Meagan, is Dave and Sally's daughter. She's a teacher in Oklahoma and just returned from four years of working in a Christian orphanage in Zambia. She is also the most unbelievable young lady you will ever meet but Meagan politely declined her Uncle Scott's suggestion and I thought that was the end of it. The next day, right after Thanksgiving dinner, Scott brought it up again and the assembled relatives urged Meagan to reconsider and astonishingly, to me at least, she did. After several minutes, Meagan emerged from the bedroom- it was a perfect fit! The dress looked like it had been tailor made for Meagan to walk down the aisle to a most fortunate young man awaiting her at the front of a church building on a magical evening in June. She wore it only briefly, strolling through the room of biased admirers but it was long enough to qualify as the favorite moment of my week in Wichita. She wasn't there but Mom would have loved it, too.

I would guess that wedding dress had not adorned anyone since the day Roger Hawley married Nelda Chesshir on December 25, 1949. I would also guess that no one except Mom and Meagan has ever put it on. It shows its age with a few stains and the scent of being in storage for sixty-one years. We had some subsequent discussions of what to do with it and came to no concrete decision. (Coincidentally, I have the tie Dad wore in the wedding, as well.) But for a few moments on a holiday set aside for gratitude, I was reminded of the link between the past and the present. In Second Timothy 1, Paul speaks of his young friend's faith which was passed down from his grandmother to his mother to Timothy. I think of the faith my mother had which she labored so hard to encourage in her grandchildren like Meagan, who she loved so much. Meagan was also blessed by the faith of her maternal grandmother, Racine, and her mom, Sally. Her faith is what they instilled and prayed for and now, it fits her perfectly, just like an heirloom wedding dress. And for that, I am thankful.

Applicable quote of the day:
"After all there is something about a wedding-gown, prettier than any other gown in the world."
Douglas William Jerrold

God bless,
Uncle Steve
Luke 18:1
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Tracy's corner said...

What a nice post. I hope to pass the faith down to my children and future generations as well.

Terri said...

your parents make such a handsome couple. the dress is beautiful.

i love that out of all these "treasures" passed down, the greatest of these (as you point out) is the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.