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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Mother-in-Law Dress....

The Mother-in-Law Dress

"I need a mother-in-law dress," I informed the saleslady at the fancy bridal salon.

"You mean a mother-of-the groom dress?" she frowned.


She quickly and deftly passed me off to a younger colleague, while smiling over my shoulder at a new bride that had just entered the store. Obviously, commissions were better on bridal gowns than on mother-in-law dresses. Oh well, it didnít really matter. I didnít want to be there any more than she wanted to waste her valuable time on a low commission sale.

Guiding me to the racks of dresses, the sweet young salesperson asked what color I liked.

"Well, it canít be blue because the mother-of-the bride picked that; it canít be off-white because the grandmother selected that. And it canít be cranberry, because the wedding party will be wearing cranberry. Whatís left?"

As you can probably tell, I was not terribly enthusiastic. Itís the second time around for my son, so Iíve been through this ordeal once for him already. It sometimes seems like the bigger the wedding, the faster the divorce. But, Iím trying to be optimistic today. Wife number two has not been married before and she wants a wedding. I need to quit acting like a mother-in-law and try to share the joy of the happy occasion.

"I donít want sequins either," I said. Guess Iím old-fashioned but all that glittery stuff looks tacky to me."

Sweet Young Salesperson selected a light green dress and a peachy pink frock with a lacy top and we were off to the dressing room. It looked more like a dance studio or a health club with mirrored walls. Silly young brides flushed with excitement were trying on fluffy wedding gowns while sales people hovered around cooing. I didnít realize that marriage was such big business.

I slipped into the lacy peach number and held my breath. Nope, no use, it wonít zip.

"Oh, that looks great on you," exclaimed Sweet Young Salesperson and her cooing flock of colleagues.

"I canít breath"; I gasped as I grabbed dizzily for the wall. "Get me out of this thing!"

I really liked the green one. Very sophisticated. Good color for me. Unfortunately, it fit me like an Army tent.

"That is fabulous!" squealed Sweet Young Salesperson.

She has got to be kidding! The entire wedding party could fit into this, all at the same time. We could add a tent pole and hold the wedding reception underneath this dress. No amount of alteration could ever make it fit. Naturally, in was not available in a pup tent size.

"I think Iíd better keep looking," I said, edging my way toward the door.

"Wait, try this!" exclaimed Sweet Young Salesperson, chasing after me waving a dark green bridesmaid dress. Good grief! Do these people never give up?

I managed to escape unharmed and locked the car door. I would have to check out the discount bridal warehouse that I had seen advertised in the Yellow Pages. It was on the other side of town. How was I to know they would be working on the Interstate and I would be stuck in construction traffic for an hour trying to get there? Maybe I should have tried the bridesmaid dress on after all.

I donít know the north side of the city very well, but using a map, I finally found the joint. The prices were too high. Apparently the word "discount" was just a come-on. It didnít look much like a warehouse either, just a regular store. The sales people hung around in back by the cash register, talking to each other and ignoring the customers. You know the sort of place.

I selected a couple of dresses in my size and hauled them back to the dressing room and tired them on all by myself. I finally interrupted the chat session going on at the cash register and purchased a dark purplish gown that doesnít make me look too awfully fat, I hope.

Okay, Iíve got my mother-in-law dress. Now if I can just get rid of my mother-in-law attitude, Iíll be ready for the wedding.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss

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