It’s been years now.
I went to Cairo for a visit.
When bedtime rolled around, I realized that I didn’t have pj’s.
Della took me to her closet. She sat down on the floor and, if I remember right, it was the bottom drawer that she pried open.
Spilling over with lingerie,
she began to pull out an assortment of pajamas bottoms, tops and gowns.
It was the white gown that caught my eye.
I believe it was sleeveless.
I know it was tea length.
I remember it had a tear in it.
Its cotton fibers were worn smooth, like silk,
from wear, age and love.
I remember feeling beautiful in that gown that night.
I’ve always thought that Della is one of the most beautiful women that I have ever met.
Somehow, her beauty has nothing
to do with her looks
and yet …. everything.
When she was younger and Princess Diana was alive,
it was easy to see a keen resemblance between the two.
Diana is now gone … but Della’s beauty remains.
I love the cock of her head,
her warm, embracing smile,
her deep, loud belly laugh,
her tell-it-like-it-is attitude,
her strong hands and lovely nails,
her generous heart,
her boldness in Christ,
and her daring, short hair.
She lives in a beautiful place now.
I see that she accepts herself
in a way that she didn’t for decades …
she and I have both made our way down that new road
to self-acceptance, self-love and self-embrace.
While we have our differences, in many ways we are alike.
I only own one shirt that has a peace sign.
I wore it to Cairo on my last visit.
She came out to greet me upon my arrival
and she was also wearing a t-shirt with a peace sign emblem on the front.
Yes, peace is definitely one thing that we are united in seeking.
She spent a childhood without it.
And I have spent my adult life without it.
But, I would have to say that both of our homes are now
filled to the brim and overflowing with peace.
So, I remember the night I wore her white nightgown.
And I decided then
that I would only wear white, cotton nightgowns for summer slumber.
Winter’s chill brings pj’s and flannel …
but summers are meant for cool, white, crisp, flowing, cotton frocks.
That’s been at least … fifteen or more years.
Somehow, the Lovetts can poke fun at
ping-pong balls, tragedy or raw fish
and make people laugh.
I am the now the butt of all “white gown” jokes.
Last summer, I posted this photo of me walking down the beach.
Our mutual friend, Mary Ann queried me on my Facebook wall:
” **whispering** Karen, does anyone else know
that you are walking around in your nightgown??!!??”
(I have to mention that this little dress was bought
to be worn as a beach/bathing suit cover up …
but since she’s mentioned it, I’ve actually slept in it a few times.)
I accidently left one of my long-sleeved, fall gowns
in the Lovett household about a year ago.
They nicknamed her “Chastity” and have now claimed her as theirs.
She truly has a life of her own.
Sleeping with me in my un-eventful world
would certainly be a letdown
after all that she has seen and done.
She has been taken on many excursions with their family. She’s been seen
at the beach … Panama City or Daytona, I’d guess.
She’s made an appearance at a Cairo High School football game in Della and Jeff’s hometown.
And she was part of Drosselmeyer’s costume for The Nutcracker…. well … behind the scenes, anyway.
She’s been to a Sweet 16 party, been to board meetings downtown and …
who knows where else!
I wouldn’t be surprised to find she has ridden a motorcycle.
I’m sure their joke in naming her “Chastity”
is that she isn’t very sexy
and yet …. in any white gown, I feel beautiful.
And I am absolutely sure
it is because of a decision made years ago
in the Lovett home.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it? The family that makes fun of me always wearing a white gown
is where the idea originated in the first place?
And I’m okay with that.
If they weren’t picking on me,
I’d feel a little left out.
So, they call her Chastity,
But I call her “Beautiful.”