I threw away a gown the other day. It was long past its time to go. I had tried before to discard it but simply could not. I would stand holding it, trying to make the decision. More than once I retrieved it from the trash and put it back in the drawer. This was not a sentimental issue; in fact I have no remembrance of where I got the gown—or when! There was nothing special about it. In fact, it was rather plain. It was just so familiar and so comfortable.
But it was so ready to be removed. It wasn’t just faded—the color from waist up was completely gone. You could tell from the tail that it once was some shade of pink. Seams that weren’t ripped were pulled loose from the age-weakened fabric making more mending futile. The bodice was worn thin in places that bore the brunt of my body’s turning within.
The thing that finally tipped the scales toward permanent discard was the thought that I might die in my sleep wearing that gown. What an embarrassment that would be. A reasonably clad citizen by day who wore pauper’s clothing by night. What would the attendants think? Worse, what if it was included with my personal effects forwarded to my daughters? They would be devastated. Mama had on THAT gown! I dared not go farther down that path of imagination.
I felt good that the wavering was over. A small burden was lifted. I knew that I would not drag the gown back again. Once my course of action was decisive, I began to consider a possible new life through recycling. The knit nonabsorbent fabric wouldn’t lend itself well to making cleaning rags. I could rip it into strips for tying up tomato vines next summer, but that would look tacky. It would be good stuffing for a cushion, but such a project wasn’t anticipated.
I was growing weary from all the stress of the moment and was ready to bring all this to conclusion. In the wastebasket the gown went, my glance following. It looked so out of place there that I quickly picked it up and wadded and tied it tightly inside a plastic grocery bag. I wouldn’t want it to accidentally go flying loose out of the dumpster when the trash pickup truck came by to empty. Another embarrassing vision.
That night I pulled a blue gown from the back of the drawer to take the gone gown’s place in rotation. It was respectable by conservative standards. I felt dressed up and actually somewhat proud of myself, but I cannot deny that I missed the other one.