Eat raw tarantulas in hot sauce for someone
"That's the dress I want!"
I peered at the computer screen over her shoulder, at a pink satin halter dress like Marilyn Monroe wore in the 1950s, with a crinoline petticoat underneath.
"Does it come in black?" she asked, worriedly.
"I'm sure it does...let's see." We clicked through all the choices--pink, gold, green, red. No black. I emailed the company. They wrote back "sorry." I emailed again to ask for the name of the manufacturer, thinking "let's go to the source." They wrote back that actually a manufacturer creates the dresses under the store's label and couldn't possibly get a black one done in time.
There's just nothing I hate more than hearing someone say, "I can't."
It had all started so innocently. An invitation to the Prom from a young man who has become very affectionately known as Kilt Boy. A need to match a Montreat tartan kilt. A 1950s halter dress that, as it turns out, not only didn't come in black but evidently has never existed in the history of online shopping in black. Trust me, I know. And, of course, the final ingredient--a mother who would eat raw tarantulas in hot sauce if it meant saving her daughter.
37days readers helped, sending links to beautiful dresses. "Not really. Nope. I mean, it's really nice, but not exactly," Emma responded to each one. Clearly, she would have settled for one that was sort of like what she wanted. But why?
Have I mentioned that I like a challenge?
An old friend from high school--haven't seen her in 30 years!--left a comment suggesting I get someone to make the dress. Thanks, Edie! She even found a pattern that was perfect. Just for kicks, I sent a note out to the neighborhood list serve I had started four years ago evidently Just For This Very Purpose. I envisioned myself on the corner of Sweeten Creek Road and Biltmore Avenue in a chicken suit begging for a prom dress by week's end.
But, instead, within twenty minutes, I had my answer: the costumer for the local neighborhood Shakespeare Theater Company would make the dress. In less than a week. I had never even met her, but her email buoyed me: "I also have a daughter I'd do anything for. We can do this. Here's the plan. Here's the kind of zipper I need." Victoria, we are forever indebted to your "let's get this done" attitude!
I guess I could have driven Emma to the mall and said, "pick one." But where's the fun in that?
We first met in the costume room of the Shakespeare company surrounded by brocades, golds, waistcoats, petticoats. Emma was measured to within an inch (literally) of her life. I ordered the pattern. Picked it up. Took it to the sewist, as Edie calls them. The sewist emailed Instructions for Idiots to Take to the Fabric Store. We visited fabric stores to see black satin. Who knew there was more than one kind?
"Looks too much like leather."
"Too loud when you move it."
I needed to buy carbon offsets just for the trips it took to find the right satin at Foam and Fabric.
We sat and waited for days while Victoria did her magic. If by "waiting," what you mean is "searching for the perfect shoes, a black crinoline, and a dainty purse in which to carry a cell phone that is never farther than no inches from her hand."
Emma busied herself the whole week by practicing walking in her shoes. She only fell down the stairs once, a tragedy we both responded to not by questioning whether she was hurt, but by checking to make sure the heels weren't broken.
Finally, the call to come over and be fitted, so the hemming could begin. It was beautiful. Emma beamed that beamy smile that seems like she can't stop smiling it when she is really, really happy.
Tarantulas have never, ever tasted so good.
"I would have finished it last night," Victoria said when she finally called on Friday, the day before the prom. "But my hand cramped up at 2-1/2 hours of hemming. Am doing it all by hand because it'll look nicer."
Took her four hours to hem that dress.
Kilt Boy arrived right on time, looking absolutely dashing in his Montreat tartan kilt, with white roses for a corsage. Did I mention that I love the fact that he wore a kilt to the prom? We left them alone while he adorned her with a beautiful sash of tartan to match his, pinned very meticulously with a pin from his kilt. They looked young and happy and slightly nervous but only because there were Adults Intently Staring at Them.
"Don't forget to get your photograph made at the prom," I yelled after them as they escaped.
Do you see an official photograph posted here? I thought not.
"Do you remember that party we had for you after the prom your
junior year?" my mother asked when I called to tell her they were gone.
"Um...sure?" I said. "Sissy and I spent hours rolling grapes in sugar
for that party--do you remember that? I hope you remember it, so it
wasn't all in vain!" she said brightly.
Will Emma remember all this? I don't know. But I will. Perhaps it'll be like sugar-rolled grapes that I kind of remember, but my mother really remembers.
37days Do it Now Challenge
Ask for help to make the dress of your dreams. Roll a thousand and one grapes in sugar. Find the perfect shoes and practice wearing them. Eat tarantulas for someone else. And, like the sewist--Victoria--every once in a while, eat raw tarantulas in hot sauce for someone you have never even met.