Saturday, September 29, 2012
Mama Wants a Fur Coat
When I was a little girl I can remember my mother wanting a mink coat (actually a stole). And, yes, we lived in South Carolina, in the low country where it stays warm most of the time, we have a few weeks of coolish weather, and summer runs early May through mid-October. And, no, global warming has not changed a thing. It has been this way all my life.
Now, I never pined for a mink coat. The closest I ever came to a fur coat was my white rabbit muff that Mama had me take to church every Sunday (between October and February). I never could figure why I had the white fur muff - or for years what I was supposed to do with it for that matter. Mama always said it looked nice and it was something that made my outfit. To this day, I think she got the idea from some old Shirley Temple film. By the age of ten I shed the muff. Funny, I was the only one who had one. Seems it wasn't that big of a fashion statement on seventy degree Sunday mornings.
But, back to the mink. Oh, Mama wanted one. "For what?" my Dad would ask in fun. (He knew he was going to buy her one, he was just making her suffer.) "Oh, I could wear it to Country Club Dances, formal weddings, out to dinner when we go to Charleston, and to those big parties we always go to during the holidays." "You don't even wear a coat now when we go out." "But that's because I don't have a fur."
So the mink arrived at Christmas, actually two weeks early, so Mama could get good use of it at the big holiday parties and dances. Daddy commented that she did look good in it, but he was sure she was glad all the places they went were air conditioned. And, he said all the smart places had the air conditioners running to make sure the ladies "needed" their stoles.
In March Dad came down to breakfast one morning carrying Mama's mink. "Well, honey, tell it goodbye." "Goodbye? Where are you taking it?" she asked almost in tears. "Back to the store. You didn't think you were going to keep it did you?" Before she started crying, he just laughed. "Sweetheart, your fur has to be stored for the summer and the store I bought it from offers a professional storage service."
Every fall the fur came out of storage and every spring it made its pilgrimage back to the great fur spa (or where ever they kept furs over the summer). Dad and I found great humor in that mink stole. It didn't matter whether it was 40 degrees and raining or 75 and sunny, if the occasion was even slightly appropriate for such apparel she had it on. Dad commented one day, "You know when I bought that stole, the furrier told me I was lucky to live in the south because a nice fur would last a lady a lifetime, especially with our climate and limited number of times it would be used. But, it's good thing this one has to be stored during the summer, other wise it would be exhausted."