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Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 12, 2010 || 12:18 pm

So Tess and I set off to go to the Million-Mile Yardsale this past weekend. It’s not really a million miles long (I don’t think? Wait. Is it?), but it’s just more fun to say ‘Million-Mile Yardsale’ than ‘World’s Longest Yardsale‘. Not only does it sound more adventurous, but the former just flows a little better than the latter.  There were some twists and turns and off-track moments –as there always are when the two of us head out adventuring together– before we finally hammered down onto the trail and Made Shit Happen. Once we reached that point, though, we found ourselves miles and miles from civilization, swooping around the winding turns of curvaceous and lovely Lookout Mountain. The sale stops on the mountain portion of the trail were few and far between, but we’d find large clusters of folk hunkered down in spacious yards. Think pig roast. Think family reunion. Think flea market. Now throw all these thoughts in a Mason Jar and shake the shit out of them, jumble them up real good. Serve them over a bed of hundred-and-five degree humidity. The result sort of touches on what was going on.

At one stop we found no menfolk, only a passel of women huddled under a metal carport. There were about five older women (early fifties, perhaps?) a couple of younger twentysomethings and a girl of about twelve. They greeted us warmly and immediately enveloped us in conversation. It was clear from their appearance that they were Holiness Church, which is not uncommon either on our mountain or the one on which we happened to be wandering. I’ve found an illustration for those of you not familiar with the why of how we were able to immediately peg these laydehs as those of the Holiness persuasion.

:: holiness laydehs, a representative example for educational purposes only ::

Except, this illustration isn’t exact. The Holiness Laydehs we encountered that day looked 42% more matronly, 18% less colorful and 23% more dowdy than these do, as is typical for our region. But, to the plus side, they were every bit as sweet and pleasant as these laydehs appear to be, only with poofier hair. That’s another thing: Where their hair is concerned, Holiness women in these parts tend to have eighties bangs, a poof factor of seven or a combination thereof. It’s a complex and exact science, this hair, but I’m hesitant to explore its nuances further for fear that I might find myself  in a tea length dress with a sailor collar, forsaking my collection of lipsticks.

I would also miss my collection of tequila.

We browsed around, engaged with the group, talking merrily. Tess started having a spastic reaction to the fact that she found a pair of purple platform stilettos in a bin. They were pristine, these heels, showing no signs whatsoever of having been worn.

“These are a dollar! They’re my size!” Dance-dance-dance, squee-squee-squee. The incongruity of finding a pair of bright purple stripper heels in the middle of a half-dozen extremely conservative old-school women was not lost on us, but it wasn’t a huge surprise, either. We specialize in the incongruous, in the inexplicable and unlikely.  The laydehs were tickled at her delight, clapping and encouraging her to purchase something that they’d never in a million years wear themselves. We continued conversing and turned to the subject of our earlier difficulty in finding the trail head out of Chattanooga;  they assured Tess and me that we weren’t the only people that had problems with the directions that were posted on the internet. In fact, about eighty percent of their customers had.

Now, at times I express frustration with physicality. This used to mean a good face- or wall-punching, but I’ve upgraded to the class of anger that just means I go all flaily sometimes when I’m peeved about something whose ridiculousness can’t be encapsulated in words. Having healthy dollops of Irish and Italian running around in my veins doesn’t help this, either. I’m predisposed to gestures, you see.  So I started being flaily and Tess started getting tickled at me and of course flailing sometimes unlocks my verbiage so before you know it I was saying, “Well, that website sure didn’t know what the hell it was talking about…..”

Then I heard the screech of brakes in my brain and saw Tess stiffen ever so slightly.

WELL, JUST GREAT. I’ve let a swear word slip, totally betraying my polite raising. I’m obnoxious, but pretty respectful overall, and  I know how cusses –especially from females– are like a slap in the face in the Holiness community. And also there is the issue that,  while  it was only ‘hell’, my tongue is a  wily dipped-in-cusses thing and something like ‘Jesus, FUCK!’ is likely to come down the chute at any second and with no notice whatsoever. One can only imagine how such a monumental swear, said in the presence of  seven genteel, buttery-sweet Holiness Laydehs (and one twelve-year-old Holiness Laydeh in training)  might be received and/or dealt with.

(reader: please put on your swirly hat of vivid imagination; fire it up and let it go to work for the duration of this conversation)

“Dear, it is not nice to say ‘Jesus, FUCK!’ in polite company. Or in crass company, for that matter. Please accompany us to the backyard, where we will serve you warm cookies. Then we will shove you into the Specially Anointed Hole that we’ve dug for all Heatherns. Mkay?”

“What kind of cookies, ma’am?”

“Chocolate chip. With walnuts.”

“Well then: Mkay.” I’m not getting lured into any heathen-hole by something with raisins in it, der.

(you may now remove swirly hat of vivid imagination)

Two days later, it occurred to me how such incongruous shoes came to be in such self-consciously conservative hands. We were at the office when I shared my theory with Tess.

“Hey Tessa Rae, I reckon I know how those ladies came by those shoes.”

“Oh yeah?”

“What happened, see, is that some sixteen-year-old girl went shoe shopping without her momma in tow. Truckin’ down the mountain into the biggish city and all that.” Here Tess nodded and half-grinned, getting the gist of where I was heading with this.

“She wags home purple stripper heels, her doe eyes all starry, imagining how damn fancy and fine she looks in them. She dances them out for her momma, who inhales in the sharp, jangly way one does when their sensibilities have been backhanded with a fair deal of force. Momma’s face turns a shade that is complimentary to the offending shoes; she promptly forbids them.”

Tessa swept right in. “And those dang shoes go straight into the yardsale pile, to be snapped up by a Lesser Being at a later date.”

“Exactly right. Because if those shoes go back to the store? And the money goes back into pocketbook like nothing ever happened? Then what lesson will’ve been learned?”

We nodded sagely, agreeing with one another and with what must surely be the only scenario to a pair of brand-new, pristine-soled purple stripper pumps being procured for a buck from seven Holiness ladies high atop Mount Middle Of Nowhere.

There are a couple of morals to this story. One is that we may often get lost, but in the process of doing so we make great finds. Another is that Tess might just be a Lesser Being, but she’s the Lesser Being with amazing legs that end in fabulous, bargain-priced purple shoes.

7 worked it out »

  1. Deb 8.13.2010

    I wonder, though, if Cousin Dale left those shoes in the boxes in the basement that wouldn’t fit in the Ford when he finally up and went west. Momma and them never wanted to talk about what was in those boxes, but I always thought it might be purple shoes and the like. Kinda miss Cousin Dale, he was a card!

     
  2. Jett Superior 8.13.2010

    Deb, UR DOIN IT RAWNG.

    There’s no ‘and’; it’s just ‘momma-nem’.

    (I can’t believe I totally overlooked the whole Cousin Dale scenario. Der.)

     
  3. TwoBusy 8.14.2010

    And thus, we have the joy of these interwebs captured in a pristine-soled nutshell: a story of something that I would never ever – not in a million years – have experienced firsthand… becoming a story I will always think of when I see purple stripper pumps.

     
  4. Chris Robinson 8.16.2010

    Where’s the lightswitch? There. Okay. I’m in and the walls look beautiful! Let me wander a bit, find the poetry, the restrooms, and so on. I’m just happy to be here.

     
  5. Holmes 8.20.2010

    One person’s hellbound is another’s discount hotness.

     
  6. Jett Superior 8.20.2010

    Good God, Holmesy: NEW MOTTO.

     
  7. Naz 9.9.2010

    New to your blog. Already love it because we share a touch of the same disease – social tourettes.

     

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