birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

That Dress

I loved that dress beyond reason. I bought it at JR Michael, the little preppy shop on Main Street. It was a Lanz, a brand that is more expensive than I usually spring for, but, as I said, I loved it. A shirt waist dress made of a soft red and green flannel, with a sash, not a belt. The skirt was full and it didn’t have a waist band which is always s a problem since I am long-waisted and with typical store-bought dresses, the waist hits me around my rib cage. So yes, it was comfortable, but it was the color, the style, the brand. I talked myself into spending big bucks on that dress.

Now when I describe it, it sounds more like a lumberjack’s shirt than a signature style statement for a well-dressed lady. But at the time, I felt not just good in that dress, I felt great. I probably wore it to work at least once a week, sometimes with a green wool blazer if the day was cold. As the years rolled on, and newer items in my closet began to claim precedence, I wore that Lanz original less frequently. At some point, I began to love that dress more for its comfort than for its classic style. It became my go- to dress when I woke with a sore throat, or a sinus infection, or a bad case of the 3 a.m.s. It was soft and cozy, like an old bath robe. I could go to work .and if I wore low heels, it felt almost like I was wearing a flannel granny gown. Yes, the dress was old. Yes, It had been through the wash and dry cycle more times than I could calculate, but it was still perfectly good. Yes, the colors were fading, but the flannel just got softer with each year that passed. I loved that dress. I needed that dress, the way a toddler needs her “bimby” blanket.
It isn’t as if I was wearing it every week, but it was there hanging in the back of the closet for those mornings when I needed a crane to hoist me out of bed. I never should have listened to my family when they insisted that I get rid of it. What difference did it make if it looked worse than an old raggedy bathrobe?
It’s cold and gray this morning. The wind is picking up. This would be the perfect day to wear it.
 

The Power Clash

Jedi Masters Student