[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ord,” my wife’s mother said. “Sometimes, I didn’t want anyone to know that Jamie was my child.”

When I asked Miss Mary why she would say such a thing, she was all too happy to tell me.

“Well,” Mary explained. “As a young girl, Jamie wore men’s clothing. She refused to wear anything else. Button down shirts, wide brimmed hats, and even neckties. It nearly drove me to the bottle.”

Miss Mary laughed. “I took Jamie shopping, to buy some new clothes, so she’d at least look decent in public. I told her I’d buy her anything she liked. Anything. Just so she’d quit wearing neckties.”

Mary buried her face in her hands and sighed. “Jamie was making me into the laughing stock of Brewton with those neckties.”

I nodded, even though I’m pretty sure the last part was an exaggeration.

“But you see,” said Miss Mary. “It’s hard to shop with Jamie, she’s an indecisive shopper.”

Thirteen years of marriage. You’re preaching to the choir, sister.

“Jamie would keep us at the store all day. She’d try on every stitch of clothing in the place, and still not find an outfit she liked.”

“So, I’d take her to another store. That child didn’t want anything but a new necktie, and some Milk Duds.” Miss Mary scoffed. “I thought about leaving her there for good.”

“So what’d you do?” I asked.

“I gave up trying and let her have all of Boyd’s and Jim’s old clothes.”

Miss Mary smiled.

“Back when I was a girl,” Mary said. “I wish I’d been bold enough to be myself, like Jamie.”

Don’t we all Miss Mary.

Don’t we all.


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