Montana’s First Party Dress, Finding Fashions that Fit, and High Heels

Dear Folks,

I got to play Fairy Godmother this week. Of course, Mike paid for it, but I’m not tagging him with any titles. It was a marathon few days with my Cinderella DSCN3301(Granddaughter Montana). She and her mother Michelle were house guests. Saturday we did lunch and a movie — “Dracula Untold”. Great movie. More later.

Sunday we did an afternoon shop around for a party dress for Montana’s first “grown-up” type outing. It was Homecoming for the seventh/eighth graders. She’s thirteen, about an inch taller than me, but hasn’t yet lost her “baby” fat. Of course, I went through a hefty stage when I was in my early teens. But I lost it all around age seventeen. Then I found it again at age forty-seven.

Since Michelle has OCPD, she has to drag an oxygen tank around with her and has to take frequent breaks. But of course she wanted to help find her daughter’s party dress. We hit Books-A-Million first at the Gadsden Mall so Michelle could have a coffee and get warm. She was freezing and had not brought a sweater.

I grabbed a superhero blanket off a shelf, got her settled, and Montana and I went book shopping while Michelle rested and got warm. My daughter is really into the Left Behind series so I found her a book by Tim LaHaye to read while sipping her coffee and warming up in the blanket. After paying for our purchases, including the superhero blanket, we went to Belks and J.C. Penny, also at the mall.

After the first long walk, Michelle opted for the indoor mall seating just outside the stores. If we came across anything interesting, we did a walk by and held up the dress. But after a while, Michelle had to go lie down in the truck. It was fine weather for leaving the windows open. But after about three hours of finding nothing interesting that fit — most party dresses are made for tiny girls (and I mean tiny) — we decided to ditch Gadsden and head for The Pinnacle in Trussville.

I offered to drop Michelle off at home, but she wanted to come with us. After stopping at McDonalds in Springville to wolf down a Big Mac, we went on to The Pinnacle, which is just like it sounds. We live in hill and mountain country. You can DSCN3286see the whole world from The Pinnacle, a tasteful village of stores and restaurants. Michelle stayed in the truck for a little while, then joined us later. Montana and I hit Penny’s first and started finding dresses.

We gathered up a colorful bouquet of bright, sequined garments in all kinds of sizes, found a dressing room, and started going through the agony of having to discard. Frustrated before trying on half of them, Montana joined me on the floor and we went through racks again. Something caught my eye. It was Michelle, who had joined us earlier, waving a yellow dress from the door of the fitting room. I nodded that it was one of our vast load to try and went on my way.

After what seemed a lifetime of watching Montana’s disappDSCN3297ointed face with each fashion defeat, she finally tried on the strapless yellow dress. The bodice was outlined in sparkling, cut glass beading and sequins, and a satiny skirt was covered in an array of wispy, trailing scarves. It was such a hit that even one of the tiny girls who was trying on anything she wanted, wanted that one. What a coup over those size ones.

Then we went looking for shoes. Nothing fit. Too little or too big. We dropped Michelle off at the truck while Montana and I strolled down the sidewalk to the Shoe Dept. It really was a beautiful day, with just the right breeze and that tangy whiff of fall in the air. It was heady stuff and Montana and I were in high spirits. Okay. So my spirits were high, but everything else about my body was kind of on the downhill run. I’m no spring chicken anymore, even in autumn. I knew I was going to pay for this all-day outing in more ways than one. But, thank God, we found the shoes right away. And a silvery small purse with a ring closure to put your finger through. Other accessories had to wait. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.


Okay. Tomorrow dawned. Michelle had pushed too hard the day before and could barely get out of bed. So she stayed home. Montana and I hopped in the truck and were almost to Springville when I noticed that the needle in one of the little windows above the steering wheel was three-quarters over. I don’t know squat about any motorized vehicle, but I didn’t think that was a good sign. Also, I kept hearing a heavy sighing coming from somewhere in the body of the truck. And I knew there wasn’t a pervert within . . . okay, I was on the interstate and i was also not on the phone.

I called Mike. He panicked. We agreed that I would pull off in Springville at the Walmart service station, which is the first place I could pull off to speak of. He hitched a ride with our son Henry while Montana and I waited at the little gas station. This is one where there’s only a window and an attendant, with cokes and stuff behind glass in a little outdoor “U”. I told Montana she could get a drink. That choice seemed to take her longer than picking out a dress.

Anyway, when Mike and Henry got there, Mike climbed up in the cab and scanned the gauges. As I peered up from the ground he asked which one I had been looking at. “That one with the Aladdin’s Lamp symbol on it,” I said. Mike groaned. “That’s the oil gauge,” he said. “And it’s perfectly fine.”

Okay. What about the noise? Mike drove it down to the next exit with me riding shotgun and Henry trailing. Mike said it was an exhaust noise or maybe a tire and I was good to go. I apologized for getting him out on a wild goose chase, but he just laughed and said he’d rather it be a false alarm than to ignore something vital.

I told him to just park Montana and me at McDonalds. Henry and Mike left and, for the second day in a row, Big Mac sustained my granddaughter and me. Our destination, again, was Trussville, where there was a dollar jewelry store. That was the name of it, though not everything there was a dollar. Of course it was cheap, but I wasn’t buying diamonds anyway. I also wanted a scarf or shawl for Montana inDSCN3328 case the dress code would not allow bare shoulders. And I knew this store had them.

Wouldn’t you know, not only did I not see any of the pretty stuff that I’d remembered, but the sales girl “dissed” her own merchandise. When I’d gone there before with my daughter-in-law Tammy, the sales girl showed us various ways to wear things that were cute and cheap. I like that combination. We didn’t stay long. When we got outside Montana said, “Grandma, that girl wasn’t very helpful, was she?”

We went to a couple more stores, but there was nothing there that caught our eyes, and there were no scarves that were appropriate. Finally, we went on up the hill to The Pinnacle and stopped at Belks. Montana spotted the escalator through the windows right away. “I’ve never been on an escalator!” she squealed. Okay. So this was to be a first.

Since I had a question about store policy, I asked two sales girls just inside the door who I should see or ask. By the cool, haughty look they gave me, they were obviously put out by the interruption, but told me what I needed to know. I thanked them and went on my way to the jewelry department, which also was right there with the scarves. A more mature woman helped us here, one who not only knew fashion and how to wear it, but seemed to enjoy sharing her expertise with us.

She found a delicate, silvery sheer scarf and wrapped it around the shoulders of Montana’s dress, which we had had the forethought to bring. Then she picked out some earrings and necklaces, and I spotted a bracelet that would go with them. Montana got to choose from this selection, and everybody was happy. Our little accessorizing escapade did cost me more, but the considerate and consummately helpful saleslady made it worth it.

We had to go upstairs to conduct some other business, and, of course, we took the escalator. And, of course, I had to play point man as Montana trailed timidly in my wake. No mishaps. But Montana pronounced that she did not like escalators. Okay.DSCN3314 At least she can mark escalators off her bucket list. But I have grave misgivings about her plan for skydiving sometime in the far future.

When we got home, it was time for a fashion show. Once Montana got over her initial camera shyness, her relatives played home-grown paparazzi and the flashes started. We couldn’t get the men to cooperate. Aunt Katie Bug came up from down the hill, but Randy opted out. Tammy came over, but Henry stayed just long enough to tell Montana she was beautiful — then he made tracks out the door. Granddaddy (Mike) dug out our camera and took two or three shots. Then he was outta there, too. I suppose there was too much girly stuff and squealing going on.

So now . . . just enjoy the pictures of Miss Montana and her two-days worth of grueling effort for her Homecoming dance.¬†This is Friday and the dance is tonight so I won’t see her after she gets her hair and nails done. Bummer. But they said there would be more pictures. There’s a young man going with her, too. They once played T-Ball together. But this is just friendship going out not “dating”, since parents and others are always with them.

Now that I’ve given you the serious side of a fashion show — here’s the fun side:

Okay. What now?

I’m waiting . . .



Okay. Is that what you want me to do?

Okay, camera people. So is this what you want me to do?


Look. I’m Jasmine!






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