Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Red is the ultimate cure for sadness."
Bill Blass

I got up this morning seeing red. Not the I'm mad as hell kind of red. The autumn red of the maple tree we planted last year. By the time the dog walk/pull/sniff was over and we were coming into the final stretch, I noticed the tree. It's been gradually turning from green to red, but this morning it stood proudly in its red coat, as if daring the winds to blow the it away.

So I started thinking about red. Maybe because "red is the color for Tuesdays".* Red has always been one of my favorite colors. Not sure why. I just like the way it makes a statement.

When I was a little girl I liked to watch my mother get dressed for a party. Around the holidays she wore a red chiffon dress that made her look hot. Even though I was too young to know what hot meant, I knew she was changing from everyday mom to va va voom mom. Before getting dressed, she stood in her slip putting on makeup. Then she took the pin curls from her hair and brushed it all into place. Next she sat on the bed, roll her stockings between two hands then ever so gently and with a touch of grace, pull the silky nylon up, up, up her leg, attaching it with a quick clip of a garter. Then she slipped her dainty feet into a pair of high heels that added about 3 inches to her height. Taking the dress of its padded hanger she carefully pulled it over her head without messing up one curl. As I recall the dress wasn't exactly strapless, but eased off her shoulders. I don't think of my mother as a primper. She didn't turn back to front checking herself out in the mirror. It was as if, to my little girl's eyes, she knew she got it right the first time. She had no self-critical doubts. She knew she was beautiful.

Before leaving the room to sip on a martini while she waited for Dad to throw on a clean shirt and change his tie, Mom added a spritz of 4711 cologne. With the precision of Michelangelo tapping away the last piece of stone, she applied lipstick in the same shade of red as her dress, kissed a Kleenex to blot off the excess and turned out the light. The red chiffon swished as she walked down the hall.

I sat on her bed in the dark afraid if I moved I'd break the fairy tale spell. Mom had been transformed from a Cinderella-esque house keeper into a beauty ready for the ball. At the time I was pretty sure all one needed to be beautiful was a red dress. I think that still might be true today. In fact a little bit of red can brighten just about anything.

Want to stand out in the crowd? Wear a red dress.
Want to feel good? Eat an apple.
Want to feel comforted? Crawl up under your Grandmother's handmade red and white LoneStar quilt.
Want to look regal, jolly, or sexy - throw on a splash of red.

Here are some red things that make me happy at this time of year:
Honey crisp apples
Cranberry sauce
The rosy cheeks of little ones who've just come in from the cold.
Glittery garnet nail polish
A cashmere sweater
Boots 2 sizes too big worn by a little boy who likes to play in puddles
Cinnamon-scented candles
Santa's velvet suit
A wool scarf made of red and green MacGregor tartan
Corduroy jumpers
Candy canes
Cardinals in the tree outside my kitchen window
Salvation Army kettle
Flags in a parade
Fluffy red-slipper socks

Today I'm grateful for the tree we planted last year. I'm grateful for the songs Hoppin' John shared with us for 4 years. RIP my little friend.

Wishing for you a touch of red to add pizzazz to your day,
Merry ME


1 comment:

Cinderella said...

Beautiful cheerful post.

You made your Mom's red dress very visible to me as a reader!

Hugs to you Merry!