Dorothy Knight Burchett | On Sunny Lane: The Emperor’s New Clothes | Lifestyles

Honey and I like to go places and do things.

We go to Sunday night gospel jams, Monday night dances, Saturday night bluegrass concerts and other events as they arise. And therein lies the dilemma.

What are we wearing?

It’s not that we don’t have a lot of clothes to wear for various occasions. The problem is: what are we wearing that our friends didn’t see the last time we were with them? We don’t see the same people every time, but we see a few of them every time and some of them from time to time.

Will they remember what we last wore? Will they care? If we wear our flag shirts, they will definitely remember it. And, if Sweetheart is wearing the pants that have a stain on the knee, a friend of ours, who reported it, will remember it.

It makes no sense to wear an outfit for a few hours and throw it in the wash. If we hang it carefully, it can be worn another day – just in time.

Of course, besides our flag shirts, some garments are more memorable than others. Some people always wear very fashionable clothes.

Speaking of fashion, on rare occasions — like when I’m in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, or at the local senior center, or at the checkout counter at the grocery store — I flip through some of the tabloid magazines. They feature photos of prominent women – mostly movie stars – wearing expensive new dresses they wore at the latest gala designed especially for them by renowned fashion designers.

Some of them feature cutouts in areas that should be covered, while having fabric pleats where they are not needed. Some dresses might use a lot more material everywhere, as if the designer ran out of fabric and tried to stretch it, unsuccessfully, to cover strategic parts of the body. They turn out to be, what Sweetheart calls, dressless evening suspenders.

Some dresses look like boxes and other geometric shapes which are not conducive to comfort and human use. Yet these stars are smiling, as if they were wearing a princess dress.

It reminds me of the story of the emperor’s new clothes. The emperor had hired traveling tailors to design a fine set of new clothes for him.

The tailors insisted that the cloth was beautiful, while stealing the gold and silk that the Emperor had provided them. The tailors said anyone who couldn’t see the clothes was either a simpleton or unfit for their job.

The emperor decided to wear his new “outfit” on parade to show it off to his subjects. No one wanted to be called dumb or unfit for their job, so they all expressed their admiration for that. It took a small child to wake them up to reality when he said, “But he’s not wearing anything at all.”

Who has the nerve to tell these modern beauties that their dresses stink?

Besides, if they wore them once, they could never wear them again, because everyone would recognize them. On the other hand, who would?

(Dorothy Knight Burchett is the author of “Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together.” Contact her at [email protected])


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