Yesterday, I shared with you some sage advice about fools from my father’s side of the family. Today, let’s turn to my mother’s side of the family. I’d like to share a nugget of advice that my Grandmama Irene told me 30 years ago that I have never forgotten:
“If you ever walk out of your panties, just keep walking.”
“Come again?” you might ask, as you clutch your pearls and lean in across your chicken salad plate. Honey, you heard me. I don’t stutter and your ears don’t flap. If you ever walk out of your panties, just keep walking.
Grandmama Irene is 94 and has amassed a wealth of great advice over her years. I think of her whenever I make a big breakfast because she always said, “Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day to get everything hot at the right time.” Or when I’m cooking a big meal–“Wash pots as you go along and you won’t have such a mess when you’re finished.” If it’s too humid, I don’t make divinity candy because she taught me that candy just won’t set if there’s too much moisture in the air. (Well, to be honest, I’ve never made divinity because it’s too damn hard, but I know to BLAME IT on the humidity.) On budgetary matters, I hear Grandmama saying, “Pay your bills THEN buy your groceries.” She’s right–you can always eat beans if the power bill was high that month.
But no advice compares to the jewel in the crown: If you ever walk out of your panties, just keep walking. I think I love this piece of advice so much because it came out of the clear blue. It’s not like I was walking along with Grandmama Irene when my panties tangled up around my feet and she saved the day with sage advice. Nope. We were just puttering around the kitchen, probably cleaning up after a holiday meal, when she grabbed my wrist and said with a great sense of urgency, “Oh! Ashley! If you ever walk out of your panties (finger pointing for emphasis), just.keep.walking.”
She was born in 1918, in an age when elastic was…less dependable. Now, I’m not one to reveal specifics about how this life lesson was learned, but back in the 1940’s on a lovely summer day, a lady might have found herself walking in downtown Atlanta, right past Rich’s department store, when her elastic decided to head south. Should one find oneself on a sidewalk in a metropolitan area when one detects a certain “breeziness” in her skirt, one must NOT attempt to retrieve said underthings. LET THEM GO. Keep walking. To quote a more modern sage, Obi-wan Kenobi: “Those are not the panties you are looking for.” Once they head south, they are no longer your panties and you will compromise your dignity if you stoop to pick them up. They are feral panties at that point and belong to the street.
Why do I share this advice with you today? Because as I was walking through the parking lot at work this morning, I see a bright pink pair of cotton panties lying right there on the asphalt.
Someone’s mama has raised her right. I bet you a dollar those panties are still there at 5pm today.
If you’re thinking, “That’s good advice, but it’s never going to apply to me.” Maybe not, but let’s take it from the specific panty-dropping probability and take a more metaphorical perspective. Just think of the life situations where this applies!
- Do you have a cheating husband? Girl, he has walked out of your panties, so just keep walking.
- Have you been eating right and exercising? Hey! You walked out of your panties! Keep walking!
- Are you breaking free of the bonds of appropriateness and embracing authenticity? Sister, it’s time to walk out of those panties.
- Is it time to leave the past behind? Walk out of your panties and keeeeeeeep walking.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Grandmama Irene, so PLEASE share this advice with everyone you know! Keep it breezy!
P.S. Some of you have asked for a photo of Grandmama Irene herself. Here she is at Vivi’s first birthday luau, talking about cake. She has been famous for her homemade cakes for half a century!