This afternoon and tonight was my wife’s school choir concert – and since it was titled “It’s a Small World After All,” I decided to look appropriately “worldly” by wearing one of my favorite Save The Children ties. . .a really colorful one with the image of children from around the world joining hands. With black slacks and a black dress shirt, I thought I looked pretty spiffy. But I might as well have worn a potato sack. That’s how utterly eclipsed I was by my wife. She was wearing a truly spectacular coat that we bought for her more than ten years ago while vacationing in Door County. We found it in one of those classy little boutiques where you feel like paying admission just to be allowed to enter the place. . . and as we walked in, I would have bet anything that there was nothing in there that we would be interested in buying or that we could afford. But then we laid eyes on a rack of brilliantly-colored coats like none we had ever seen before, and for me it was love at first sight. I HAD to buy one of those coats for my wife and that was all there was to it. My wife, however, had to be persuaded since she has never been interested in buying clothing that attracts attention to herself, and wearing one of these coats would be roughly akin to setting off fireworks above her head while a choir of 200 sings “There she is, Miss America!” But even she had to admit that these coats were amazing and unique – and when I remarked that such a coat might come in handy someday for some special school function or concert, the deal was finally sealed. She tried on a couple of them before finally settling on one festooned with an image of the globe surrounded by people from various countries – and a few moments later we walked out of there with what I’m pretty sure is the most expensive single piece of apparel we have ever purchased, before or since. But for me it was entirely worth it if for no other reason than because not to buy it would have ruined the rest of our vacation for me because I would have thought of nothing else except those amazing coats, the likes of which we had never seen anywhere before and most likely would never see again. Shedding that regret was easily worth whatever we paid for that coat, which Kathy eventually affectionately christened her “Clown Coat.”
She has not worn it all that often (although she did wear it the last time we had to have our photo taken for a church directory) and I’m sure it has been five or six years since the last time she had it on- but that’s okay because it means that each time she wears it is an occasion. And it was perfect for today’s concert, for which her kids sang songs from every continent of the world (except Antarctica) plus the famous Disney song “It’s a small world after all.” But for as beautifully as they sang and as cute as they all were, for me the star of the show was the woman I married 17 years ago . . . the woman who has no interest in fancy furs or glitzy jewelry but who once in a great while lets me buy something crazy for her. (And to think that when Kathy and I were dating, she had this proclivity for dressing herself in Peach – my least favorite color. I managed to break her of that habit and today was ample proof that her Peach days seem to be decisively behind her.) I don’t think I took my eyes off of her from the first downbeat to the final bow – and I think the kids were watching her extra closely tonight as well. ( Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, conductor of the Carthage Choir, struggles to get everyone in the choir to watch him closely. Maybe he needs to try wearing my wife’s coat?! )
pictured above: GB and KB right before the afternoon concert.