POWERS-RHEA-DSC_0016_v4-2_263

I lost my pants.

Seriously.

I remember putting them away for the winter. It must have been in 2019, because to the best of my recollection I pretty much wore nothing but sweatpants throughout the pandemic last summer since I wasn’t going anywhere anyway, so why bother.

Although I seemed to remember folding them (the missing pants, that is), for some reason I was sure I had hung them in the closet in the spare room. You can imagine my surprise when I went there fully expecting to retrieve them last week only to find them ... gone.

I searched that closet from one end to the other, then back again. I have returned to the closet repeatedly, and stupidly, hoping against all reason that I might have missed them on any of my previous searches. But no matter how hard or how often I looked, they still weren’t there.

OK, I thought, maybe I did fold them, in which case I would have stashed them somewhere, and so I searched all the usual places. The pants shelf in the armoire, the storage bins in the basement, the cedar chest, and the storage bins under the beds. I even checked the shelves in the closets although I knew full well I would never have put them up there because I can’t easily reach that high. I searched every nook and cranny upstairs and down, but still no pants. All that remained as proof that they had ever even existed was the belt that came with the striped pair still dangling from a hanger where the pants had once been.

I own other pants, so it’s not like I’m totally “sans culottes,” but I don’t have comfy summer-weight pants now that the weather is warming up, so I decided to bow to the inevitable and go buy myself some new pants.

The problem here is that the style of pants I prefer ... actually, the only style I will wear since I have really bad legs … has gone out of fashion. All you can find these days are crop pants or what we used to call peddle pushers. But what I’m looking for are casual loose-fitting, lightweight cotton pants that go from my waist all the way down to my ankles. All that and nothing but.

I have scoured the internet from one site to the next with no luck, and anyway, I really need to try stuff on before buying since sizes not only tend to vary widely, but I am also built kind of low to the ground and even “petites” are often too long.

I have so far spent two days out shopping. Today will make day #3 and so far, no pants.

What I have found, however, are six new pairs of socks, four plain white cotton tank tops, a very pretty sleeveless white blouse, and a long-sleeved casual shirt I knew I would regret not buying had I left it behind, all of which I bought on sale by the way.

Oh, and one dress.

I hadn’t really planned on buying a dress, but after searching for a long summer dress two years ago, and then spotting a whole rack of them yesterday, I found it pretty hard to pass it up. Technically, it wasn’t a “long” dress, but on me it went right to the ankles, so I took it into the dressing room to try it on.

Pardon my rant if you’ve heard it before, but dressing rooms are horrible places with really bad, unflattering yellowish overhead lighting guaranteed to highlight every ripple, bulge, and fat roll on your body as you stand there in your underwear and socks thinking, “Good grief, girl, you don’t deserve any new clothes!”

Anyway, there I stood, thinking of my mother who had adamantly refused to wear anything that would expose her “old lady arms” to the world, and looking at my own old lady arms that, in that dressing room mirror, appeared way worse than I had ever seen them looking in real life under normal circumstances, and I almost decided against buying the dress. But then, I reasoned, so what if I have old lady arms? I am an old lady. And who the heck cares? And to hell with them if they do!

And so I left the store with the dress and a smile on my face yesterday morning, picturing myself, long skirt gracefully swirling about my ankles, and a wide-brimmed straw hat on my head to complete the ensemble as I attend my grandson JR’s graduation festivities in NYC next week.

But still no pants. Not yet anyway.

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.

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