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Persistently Forward

Nothing says persistence, like a 1980s Prom Dress.

I attended my book club/ladies group Murder Mystery Party, recently. I had never been to one, and this particular one was over a year in planning; a book club member wrote it, gave us all choices of "who" we wanted to be, over two years ago... we had it scheduled, and then COVID came. Thus, we tabled it. (Authors note: this isn't the place to debate COVID)

I was excited for this party; I had been introduced to this group of women, roughly four years ago, when I was asked to do make-up for a few of them, for yet, another murder mystery. My excitement grew, as four of the ladies, at a recent book club gathering, were reminiscing about murder mysteries gone by, and one said, "one year, I didn't read my script all the way through before I came and I was standing in the kitchen, turned the page and read where I died in the next scene.... I ran into the living room and promptly fell over." (I would have liked to have seen THAT! How does one skip through the living room and just "fall to the ground?" And I secretly hoped, if I was the one this year, that I would be sitting in a chair or that I would get to stumble onto a bed. I didn't want to "flop, and roll."

I was also excited because of the food. It was pot-luck (and yes, I've eaten with these ladies before - and even for book club, the food was typically as nice as that served for Thanksgiving) and we were to bring our designated dish based off the era of the 1800s (time frame for the murder mystery). Originally, the hostess was planning on a caterer to come, however she cancelled for reasons I no longer recall.

I was excited because I got to spend time with ladies who I had grown to know, book club meetings held outside, due to a pandemic.... texting messages .... the hostess keeping us updated as to whose birthday it was that week, that month.... How did you keep in touch with others, during the last few years?

Ah! I needed a dress. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a dress that I would wear for a couple hours (I hear you, brides do it all the time. Your 17 year old daughter does it, at least for 1 year if not every year in high school) Yes, I looked online. Though when shipping costed more than the dress was worth, it was definitely time to call... and the best "second hand" store in a 120 mile radius is none other than, Gigi's. Located in Buffalo, Wyoming.

I had been to Gigi's before, so I had an idea of what she carried - though it had been at least two years ... how was it fairing?

Ring Ring. Jody Sauers, owner, answers. I hadn't heard her voice in years. Had I even seen her? in the last 18 months? before we started keeping 6' between us? To hear her voice... I felt at home, immediately. I have known Jody, to a degree, for the last 12 years. We used to work together; I at the Chamber of Commerce and she, at the Radio Station. She also used to make and sell jewelry, I even have a few pieces!

"Jody, it's Mary McDougall.... 'do you have any vintage dresses?'" (In my mind.... who has vintage dresses that isn't going to cost me my food budget for the month?) Without missing a beat, she responds, "I have some 80's prom dresses that button up in the back, with high necks that work really well." WHAT? A prom dress? from the 1980s? Huh? I think I was pretty with it, how did I miss that a 1980s prom dress could pass for Scarlett O'Hara?

"All right! How late are you open on Saturdays?" Jody replies, "Usually til 4. Though if I have someone in here, I'll stay open. I've been known to stay til 8 with a group of ladies, shopping." Perfect. She stays open if you are shopping.

Later that afternoon, I hopped in my car and took the scenic route; instead of merely getting on the interstate, I headed out to Big Horn, turned left at the Big Horn Y and towards Story. A scenic route that was calm, peaceful and pretty on a rainy November day.

I arrived a little before closing. I was the only one. Jody did not bat an eye. With her funky cowboy boots, mid-thigh skirt and jacket with fringe, she led me to the back. She picked out a few in that section, then took me to the wedding area, and picked out a few more. Loaded down, she had me following her to the dressing room. As I stared at the dresses, she said, "I even have the 'slips,' that go under... making the dresses fluffy." And by gosh, she did! The first dress, too small.

The second, fit perfectly. And guess what? it was on sale! She had the under slip, that made it poofy, as though I'm walking right out of "Gone with the Wind." And as I tried on some shoes, she asked, "do you need a hat?" In my mind, I thought, "Wait, what? Me, without a hat? You have hats?" She googled hats, and said, "I may have a few," and away she went. A few minutes later, she came back with 3 different ones, telling me how I just needed to add one of those "long feathers." I walked out of there, with my dress, my slip, a fun top, and two hats (one for the party and one for another time) spending less than if I had ordered online. PLUS, I got to see an old friend, shop and support locals, and big bonus, had a delightful time doing so.

Gigi's... You know she has prom dresses, she also has wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, today's dresses: both the kind that you can wear to work and the little black dress for the holiday party or a night out to the theater. She has fun tops, sweaters, shoes, hats, purses, belts, capes, jackets. Jewelry. Pants. Slips. Fur coats. Gigi's has Jody. Jody has knowledge, is caring, is funny, and she knows her fashion. She'll tell you the truth. She's helpful.

As for the murder mystery party - I pretty much gave up my information in the first setting, forgetting that I was to play a role as I saw all these women dressed to the nines. Some played the roles of women, others of men. I was engrossed by how they knew their parts and could - act! And our hostess, the author of this mystery, had it planned out - "scene one," took place in the library ... then to dinner, where there were two groups, and beautiful table settings (that would put the finest of dining to shame) with "maids" who both served us as well as played a part in the mystery. I was so impressed. I felt almost like a child in comparison as this was my very first mystery (my sister had always kicked me to the curb when we played "Clue" as children).

Myself with Uriah Heep (nice nails)

Uriah Heep, my "twin" sister; in the background, the love of my life and the house maid.

I didn't pick "who did it," so I didn't get a prize for guessing correctly. I didn't get a prize for falling to the floor (though two people, gracefully fell to the floor, in front of me). And I didn't get a prize for playing my part the best... I do plan at my next party, to know both my character and my lines better, and to play full out, like a 1980's prom dress.

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