Weird how it happens.....

During my lunch hour today, I had to run over to Wally World to pick up some fabric, a pattern and some notions for the king’s Halloween costume.  Somewhere along the way, he had decided that he wanted to be a jack-in-the-box.  He made this decision completely without input from Mom, Dad or big Bother…strange, but true!  Of course, this costume is fairly easy for Captain Oz and I to construct and pull together, since we had made just such a costume for his big brother 12 years ago, when the Cadet was five years old.  Strange huh!  Two kiddos, same age, same costume….twelve years apart.  But I digress.

So there I was in Wally World.  Snagged the fabric.  Flipped through the pattern books to look for a clown-type costume pattern that would work for the “Jack” part of the costume.  Alas, it appears that young children do not “do clown costumes” this year – at least as far as simplicity is concerned.  But, there was an adult sized costume, and the pattern came down to an XS size.  “Great”, I thought, “I am going to have to resize the damn thing.  How the heck am I going to do that”. 

I immediately had an overwhelming “I want my Mommy” feeling.  

Flash back 12 years – different store (JoAnn Fabrics), Mom with me.  I pulled the pattern (child-sized no less) and wondered aloud how I was going to make only a portion of the costume – and how to attach it to the foam-core box that Mr. Oz and I were constructing.  Mom grabbed the pattern, took a quick look at the directions, and said, “we will take this back to my house and I will show you what pieces you need to use, and how to resize them so that you can attach the bottom of the shirt to the underside of the box.”.  She then took the package pattern off to the notions department, and picked up exactly what I needed over there, while I selected the fabrics I wanted, and stood at the cutting table awaiting assistance.  When Mom rejoined me, she upsized only 1 of the two fabrics I selected (for the body portion of the costume) as she knew that we would need an additional amount of fabric to widen the bottom of the costume. Off we went, sewing supplies in hand, back to the house at 4730, where she patiently explained to me how to cut and sew the Cadet’s “Jack” portion of the costume.  The end result?  Beautiful, and a prize winner – the Cadet won 3 “best costume” prizes that year for this cute costume.

Jumping forward to today.  Again I wondered “how the heck and I going to resize the costume”, oh, and the thought that Halloween is simply two days away also crossed my mind.  As I stood in line waiting for my turn at the cutting table, my anxiety was growing.  Seriously growing.  The “I want my Mommy here” feeling was getting larger and larger.  I was in my own little circular hell…with the Great Pumpkin looming large, time growing short, and my sewing skills (as strong as they are NOW) in question.  

Then it was my turn.  “Whatcha need hon” the clerk asked, and I looked up at her startled.  “Um, I think I need 2 yards of this…..”, pushing the fabric over the counter to her.  “You think?” she laughed, and said “what does the pattern say?”.  “Well, I have to downsize an adult pattern to fit a five year old who is rather small, and the pattern calls for 2 7/8 yards, but I want to make sure I have enough fabric to make a hat too”, I responded”.  “OH, then 2.5 yards will be plenty, you might have some left over!, but you won’t need to come back to get more”.  “Okay”, I replied, looking at her strangely.   Mom had pretty much said the same thing to me 12 years ago.

I then handed over some trim – “I need 2 yards of this please”.  “What is that for, sweetie?”, she asked.   “I think I am going to double it, or even triple it, and use it as the ruffled collar for the clown costume”, I responded.  “Are you sure 2 yards is enough?”, she asked?  “Yes, I think so, the little guy’s neck is probably 10 inches total around”.  “Yes, then that will work good”, she said.  “So you are making a clown costume for your little one?” she inquired.  “No, a jack in the box, I just need the clown top for his upper body, the box is made out of foam board, etc”.  

“That is going to be so cute”, she chuckled, “and it wont matter if you make it a little big, the part that comes out of the box should be big!”.

And my heart quieted instantly.

 “Can I ask you a question, Ma’am”, I said.

“Sure can”, she responded.

“I couldn’t help but wonder…where are you from around Western Pennsylvania?”

She looked at me kind of strangely, and said “How did you know?”

I responded that the accent was very distinctive, and was an accent that I was truly missing right then, at that moment.  

She asked me if I knew where Greensburg was.  Affirmative.  She asked me if I knew where Youngwood was.  Positive.  She told me that she grew up between Greensburg and Youngwood, but that she left there around 30 years ago.

I told her that my family was from Jeannette, that I attended Seton Hill for a semester, and that I have a dear Aunt and Uncle who live in Irwin – her brother lives in Irwin still.  We talked “small world” for a few moments, and the line grew behind me.  Yet I was reluctant to give up this moment.

For in that few minutes in my local Walmart – 130 miles away from Toledo, 12 years away from the Cadet needing a costume, and a lifetime of memories away – My Mommy was there.  Plain as could be.  Working through that mid-sixties, gray-haired angel of a Walmart Clerk (standing a mere 5 feet tall with a Western PA accent no less), Mom (again and always) was making sure that everything would be alright, that the costume would be perfect, and that her littlest daughter wouldn’t freak out too much – at least not if she could help it.  

Thanks Walmart Angel, Thanks God, and most of all, thanks Mommy!

(pics of the costume to come later – ‘natch)


DF said...

Amazing, the places that we hear mom's voice. Great story.

Carol P. said...

What DF said...

Amanda said...

Joyce, that was beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes...

The Girl Next Door said...

That was so amazing and I am very much in tears. Amazing how God knows what we need and delivers sometimes in the funniest places through the most interesting people.