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For the Last Time by Jane Strehlow

It wasn’t very long ago when I was dressing to go out and reached for a pair of pumps and, by long-ago habit, began to slip my foot into the right shoe.  Or tried to slip the foot into the right shoe…it took much more effort than I remembered.  And then the left.  Neither was a bit comfortable and I realized that I had worn those shoes, and any number of others with high heels, for the very last time.  It was a relief.  Giving up girdles and décolletage had come much earlier.

The day before Thanksgiving this year I hauled groceries, including a 20 lb. turkey, from the store to the car, from the car in the lower level garage in our building up the 14 steps to the first floor before collapsing in the elevator.  Getting that bird to the kitchen and later wrestling with the stuffing and the weight and awkward size of the turkey, made me pronounce to anyone within hearing, that this would be the very last time for large bird handling by me.  Never mind that for years it was fun and easy.  No more.

We attended a wedding this last October and when the music began during the reception, we didn’t even try to shuffle around the floor.  So, the last time of dancing at weddings happened without our even marking the moment.

On Saturday we took house guests to the city so that we could all shop at the State Street Marshall Field’s for the last time;  at least when it is a real Marshall Field’s.  There was still a bit of the old glamour and sparkle to the store, but just a bit.  The escalators away from the center seemed on the shabby side and the aisles were narrow and the merchandise more crowded on the racks than I remember from years past.  However, the clerks were knowledgeable and helpful even though the store had few of the items on my list. The search for special gifts may have also hit its last time as well.  We did, though, load up on Frango Mints and go to the 8th floor to look down on the big tree in the Walnut Room.  It’s a beautiful tree this year, all blue and silver and gold and reminiscent of the Christmas trees with blue lights that my parents always had.  There were little elves walking around and offering to be in pictures store patrons. The general holiday scurry associated with this time of year was present.  But there was also that knowledge that it is the last time for that Chicago name to be on a department store downtown in our city at Christmas time in the same way it has been for so many years.

What is surprising to me is that these ‘last times’ are not so very painful; instead, they actually afford an opportunity to acknowledge what was and to appreciate what part it or they played in our lives.  So now our days are a bit slower paced and our clothes are more comfortable and we don’t push to do what used to be easy and has become more difficult.
New things open up-- time with friends, time to read, time to anticipate the “first times” that lie just ahead.

Originally Posted by: Josephine on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 12:16 PM (167 Reads)


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