A New Easter Dress

I remember when I was a kid Easter was a real big deal because we all got new outfits. I understand now that Easter is more than new outfits but one particular Easter my mom made this dress for me. I chose the most difficult pattern with lace and buttonholes that had to be sewn by hand. It had a beautiful pink sash. My mother sewing that dress for me, and not insisting I pick out an easier pattern, was a true labor of love that I appreciate more with each passing year.  Here is a picture of me in the dress with my siblings all decked out for Easter.  Though you can’t see the detail of lace down the front or the eyelet buttonholes trust me it was a beautiful dress.  I know that I felt good wearing it so I can’t explain the expression on my face in this picture.  That expression became known over the years as Rainey’s “fish face” because I had that expression in many photographs that were taken over the years.  Heaven only knows what I was thinking.  I can’t imagine I thought that it made me look better but it was an example that I could be a high maintenance kid from time-to-time.

I love this picture with the “boys” (Stevie, Pat and Matt) all decked out in their suit coats with carnations pinned to their lapels.  Bethy, my older sister, is next to me with the coolest 1960’s haircut.  I can’t be sure but my mother probably made her dress too.  Now look at my mother wearing her yellow ensemble with yellow shoes to match!  My dad – Pa – was taking the picture so I don’t know what he was wearing but he was likely wearing a suit coat too with a tie just like the boys.  I do remember at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Huntsville, Alabama where we attended church Daddy would be a lay reader occasionally and I remember being so proud of him up there reading in front of everyone.  I beam with pride on the recollection of it all.

It had to be tough raising five kids both financially and otherwise but in spite of it all my mother and father were great parents and I was a lucky kid to have been raised by such upstanding people.  Mumzie (that’s my pet name for Ma) and Pa were just plain hardworking, honest and loving people.  My mother died just over a year ago and I miss her immensely.  My father battles dementia and is in a nursing home who cares for him because we can’t and they do so in a kind and loving way.  Because of this coronavirus thing we haven’t been allowed to visit my father since mid-March and I wonder… how is he doing?  Does he know we haven’t been there?  Is he okay?

I have to think that Mumzie is there with him because we can’t be and I have got to believe that God has given Mumzie a “day-pass” so she can tend to Pa and make sure he’s okay until we can see him again.  This craziness has to end eventually and I pray that it will be over soon.  I pray for a miracle treatment or a vaccine or both and other treatments… something so we can get back to normal.  I know for sure that normal will be profoundly different from before even though I’m not sure how.  But for now I am waiting and staying home and going through old pictures and stirring up good old memories to get me through until the day when the doors are flung opened and were are all out and about again.