“Well, that’s making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” So muttered my husband a few years ago when I served what looked to me to be a perfectly wonderful meal for friends. After all, I had told them it would be casual, and, indeed, it was. I laid out hoagie buns, meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and mustard. All with a side of chips. John, who honestly is hardly ever critical of my cooking (he knows a free meal when he sees one), thought that perhaps I had gone a little too casual. Like I was trying to dress up some buns and meats, lined them up on the counter, and pronounced it a meal fit for guests. Hence, the silk purse out of a sow’s ear comment, a saying I had never heard before.
Anyway, I was thinking about this saying recently as I was perusing the web, looking for a “bib” for my mom. My mother did not ask for a bib. My mother would never ever ask for a bib. This is a woman who cares a lot about how she looks. Despite the fact that her Parkinson’s Disease has slowed down her morning routine considerably, she never leaves home without matching earrings, a colorful scarf, and of course, lipstick.
But while she takes great care in how she looks, there seems to be no getting around the glaring spot of French salad dressing or chocolate ice cream which invariably presents itself after every meal. Indeed, Parkinson’s, that dreadful dastardly disease, makes spilling on the front of one’s shirt a foregone conclusion.
My 91-year-old friend, Gloria, insists, “Get her a bib! A lot of the people here [at the assisted living facility] wear one, and they look so good!” She adds, “Harriet Rosenberg has three of them. They come in different prints, and they are so cute! Everyone compliments her on them.” (I notice that Gloria does not wear one, but whatever).
OK, I think, I’ll get online and find a fashionable bib. One that invites compliments to the lucky person who must wear one.
Right. Let’s just stab my mother in the heart right now. Because, trust me, she would rather meet an early demise than wear one of these. Give her a spaghetti stained shirt anytime.
Undeterred, and because I really enjoy shopping online, I keep scrolling. And I find it. A dining scarf. I mean it: a dining scarf. It looks like a big beautiful scarf. Here are some of the reviews:
From Suanne of Denville, NJ: “I wore [it] to dinner with my husband, a man of few words. His comment? ‘It’s nicer than your shirt.’…Thanks for a great product.”
From Suzie of Novi, MI: “Everyone’s asking me where I got it.”
Perhaps Gail of Palos Park, IL, says it best: “It’s better than walking around with your lunch on your shirt.”
Well, that was enough to convince me. I ordered two: one in “Pink/Purple” and another in “Ivory Leaf”. Stunning, both of them.
I just love it. And, my Mom loves it too, which, believe me, is saying a lot.
So, there you have it. A perfect illustration of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, in this case making a beautiful scarf out of an adult bib, or something like that.
And now my fashionable mom is once again walking around with matching earrings, a scarf, lipstick, and a clean shirt.
And that’s a whole lot better than walking around with your lunch on your shirt.