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Posted December 11, 2012


Once upon a time, I had a riding school on my farm and flew to a college in New York State to become certified to assist in teaching horseback riding lessons. The equestrian instructor of the college dropped me off at an old farm house that served as a college dorm. I asked her what I was supposed to do for dinner. She grinned and looking like one of Hitler's SS men said, "Make do."

Though I am a Southerner and my ancestors have been "making do" ever since the Civil War, after a comment like that, I relished the thought of stealing food from the farm house frig like General Sherman's soldiers did on his scorched earth march from Atlanta to Savannah. His soldiers called it requisitioning. The Confederate Calvary called the requisitioners "bummers" and foragers and lynched them.

However, after my initial shock, I couldn't bring myself to "make do" and forage from one of the college students' freezer stash. It might be their last meal before Christmas break. I refused to resort to stealing. And the thought of having my neck stretched from a lynching was most unpleasant. What to do? I had traveled all day and was starving. Fasting wasn't an option. I had to ride a couple of tons of horse flesh the next day and needed my strength.

Luckily, there was another woman there who had driven from Texas in her car. And luckily, I had a few dollars and bribed her to take me to a restaurant. I "made do." And my new best friend made some money.

The reason I'm telling you that story is to bring you up to date on my excursions. When asked to be a part of the faculty for the recent Lightning Bug Literary Festival, I really didn't want to go out and spend big bucks for a Victorian costume to wear to the Saturday night gala banquet at the Jiggetts House. Yet, I didn't want to be a party pooper either. How would I make do?

Resolved to have some fun, I sashayed into the guest bedroom and confiscated the Battenburg lace parasol and attached a big black hair bow. A hair bow left over from the days when my children were required to wear "bows 'til bedtime." Then, I decided I could squeeze into the required blouse I wore when jumping horses in a side saddle back in the day. If I held my breath and "ate like a bird" as Scarlett's Mammy called it in Gone with the Wind, I might last the night. The hair pins and brown doughnut required to make a hair bun when horse showing were in their usual drawer spot so I snatched up those items and threw them into my suitcase. The shawl decision was a toss up--should I wear black or the beige laced shawl with long fringe that served as a prop for the violin that rested on the piano. I knew that black covered a multitude of sins including gluttony and obvious extra pounds. No-brainer. Black it would be--and it would match the long gloves with ruffles up to the elbows I found in the armoire.

The only thing I had to buy to regress back in time was a long Victorian looking skirt, a head-band hat, and a couple of floppy flowers, all on sale. Digging out the Victorian draw string purse didn't take too long, and I was set.

Once in Canton, MS, I was amazed at the ingenuity of those young ladies who didn't get the memo that we were decking out the halls with boughs of holly and Victorian costumes. A quick trip to a local store for shower curtains and a few safety pins had them in business with bustles and capes that made the rest of us look like amateur actors.

Note: That's Brian Bird of Believe Pictures sitting on the porch to the right and it looks like his wheels might be turning about how to cut movie production costumes in his next full feature film. He was amazed I found most of my costume in my closet. I won't even tell him what's stored in the attic and down at the barn. And yes, I still have my great-grandmother's wood burning stove. Never know when a power grid's going to fail and a stick of wood might come in handy.

Just a reminder that when economic times may hit us hard, Southerners can still make do. You have to appreciate our creativity. Great job Shower Curtain Girls!

And P.S -- I did not eat like a bird. I tasted most everything on the table and dived into the red velvet cake like a blue bird searching for worms. But I really think it was those chocolate and peanut butter concoctions that added those two extra pounds. All worth it!

Comments anyone?

If you would like to comment or have questions about this article, email me vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com

Miss Vicki,

Your picture at the Lightning Bug Festival was beautiful.I showed the picture to my husband and he agreed. I also wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Have a wonderful Christmas.


Dee Dee Parker

author of Josie Jo's Got to Know

The proceeds of Josie Jo's Got to Know goes to breast cancer awareness and patient expenses. Thank you for the promotion of a cause that is close to my heart. Blessings.


Thanks for the very nice compliment Dee Dee. Hoping you and yours enjoy celebrating the birthday of Christ. Merry Christmas!

Vicki, I looooved your blog! And I tremendously admired your creativity in getting that costume together! And helping the other? Wow. That's all I can manage is a breathy "WOW!" You are something else. Hugs, Emily Sue Harvey ~author of Cocoon

Thanks so much Susie! My outfit was pretty simple to throw together. But one of the mom's helped the Shower Curtain Girls. Those gals get all of the credit--I just wish I was that creative!

Great article! ~ Lisa Alsobrooks

Glad you stopped by Lisa.

I enjoyed your article. ~ Brantley Bryant

Glad you enjoyed it Brantley!

Shower curtains? Who knew?! ~Kc Frantzen

I know Kc -- I wouldn't have known if they hadn't told me. Amazing what you can do with shower curtains and a few safety pins. I have used a safety pin as a fish hook, but never used one to make a bustle.

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Email to....:vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com