Just one of the many wonderful things
about living in a small town in the Missouri
Ozarks is the unpretentious and casual
atmosphere. Since a wardrobe of jeans and
t-shirts will take me just about anywhere I
need to go, dressing up usually means
nothing more than simply using a little
extra spray starch when ironing.
As a self-employed writer who spends a lot
of time in the seclusion of my office, I
find this very appealing, but recently, I
found it necessary to expand my wardrobe to
include several items appropriate to wear to
a writer's conference.
It was while shopping with my older
daughter, who also happens to be my
fashion-guru that I lucked up on a treasure
trove of highly fashionable sweaters - all
on sale. The one I decided to purchase had a
princess neckline featuring, of all things,
enough black, white and gray ostrich
feathers to enable the wearer, if so
inclined, to take flight - literally.
Thankfully, my fashion-guru approved.
If not for the conference, this purchase
would have been a complete waste of money
for someone who delights in the prevailing
casual atmosphere found in the hills of the
Ozarks, but I was determined to wear the
sweater at least once before attending the
My weekly Rotary Club meeting seemed to be
the perfect place.
When I arrived at the meeting, my fellow
Rotarians, mostly men, were quite taken with
my sweater and offered polite commentary on
the extremely feathery nature of the
"What is that? Is it real? What did you
have to kill?" were just some of the
questions I answered that evening.
Sometime during the meal the subject was
changed to why we are offended by ringing
cell phones and the people who talk on them
while shopping at the mall, driving a car or
eating in restaurants.
Then I was asked to introduce the evening's
While addressing the group, something very
strange began to happen to the feathers on
To my amazement, the plethora of black,
white and gray feathers began dancing and
waving in the air like a group of sea
anemones from the Nemo movie.
As I bravely continued with my introduction,
all while trying to keep the flying feathers
from getting into my mouth and sticking to
my lipstick, someone's cell phone began
ringing... and ringing ... and ringing.
Laughter filled the room, when it finally
dawned on me and my fellow Rotarians that
the incredibly annoying sound was coming
from the purse sitting next to my recently
Thankful for the distraction away from my
sweater, I sat down and turned off my phone.
Last week, I left for the conference with
the sweater packed safely away in my
I am pleased to report that this time when I
wore it, the sweater with its plethora of
black, white and gray feathers behaved quite
Copyright Barbara Madden
* * * * *
who has decided it's best not to stand
directly under an air vent while wearing her
feather sweater, lives in the Missouri
Ozarks with her family and big, black
Labrador, Susie Belle. A former
self-syndicated humor columnist and
occasional Mississippi Public Radio
commentator, Barbara is now devoted to
full-time educational pursuits both as a
teacher and a student. But, as a way of
keeping her literal and proverbial funny
bone in the humor door, Barbara's Southern
charm and quick wit will continue to be
available for dinner and weekend speaking