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Full Circle: Church + Warner’s = Whoops!

Churches take themselves so darned seriously when, indeed, everyone knows what uproariously funny things happen in the Lord’s house.

Case in point. Decades ago I remember seeing our most matronly of Presbyterian matrons upset the usual Sunday service. It happened after she took a last minute detour to the ladies room, resulting in her arriving at the sanctuary doors with only seconds to spare. By then the only empty pews were in the very front, the place most sinners least wanted to sit—being that much closer to God and His judgments and all. On this day, however, our matron had no choice.

Unbeknownst to her, due to an advanced hearing problem, she proceeded down the aisle unaware that following in her wake were the muffled snickers of the congregation. The cause for all the commotion was that in her haste to get out of the ladies room, she had inadvertently caught the back hem of her skirt in the waistband of her girdle. To be sure, this was a serious girdle whose ferociously forceful threads were designed to restrain a multitude of fleshy sins, making the flimsy hem of her skirt no opponent for its unyielding might. The hem was now clenched in the Warner’s jaws of death!

Like a huge billboard, this unfortunate sight left her entire backside on public view. It wasn’t pretty. Not only was the pink fortress of the tautly stretched girdle on display, but also the garters dangling from it. Stretched to their limits, they were straining to hold up her nylon stockings. On each leg, between the girdle hem and nylon top, was a bulging exposed expanse of pale, naked cellulited flesh. By anyone’s measure it was no way to start off an otherwise bucolic Sunday morning.

As the unaware matron slid across the front pew, a startled sympathetic soul (who certainly made heavenly points that day!), pulled out the skirt without the woman ever knowing. Then as gravity pulled it downward, the once straight fabric cascaded into a tight accordion pleated skirt. Such was the pressing power of the girdle waistband.

As if the fates were stacked against Presbyterian matrons, this second scenario also happened when another woman made a similar unplanned pit stop to the ladies room. This time it wasn’t a skirt that got caught in her girdle waistband, but rather a roll of sturdy toilet paper. Cinched tight, it unrolled from under her skirt, following at her heels like a faithful family dog. The paper lay like a majestic snow white carpet precisely in the center of the aisle as if in anticipation of a royal guest.

In search of the perfect pew, our matron was suddenly taken aback when she realized that all heads were turned her way. Well, no surprise there! Of course they would be. She was, after all, looking especially fashionable in her new hat and dress. Yes, yes, she could see spending that extra money at Wallace’s was paying off.

Reveling in the flurry of the exclamations she was engendering, she did not realize her fashion statement was not what was on her, but rather what was uncoiling behind her. Unenlightened, she pulled in her stomach determined to make the most of her moment in the sun. She would go all the way to the front pew, even though on any other Sunday she would have avoided that dreaded spot like a plague of locusts.

As she hit the end of the aisle, the toilet tissue made an abrupt right turn into the pew. There, as the white streak dragged past her, a kindly lady assessed the scene and with one deft flick of her ankle, stepped on the offending paper thus breaking the progression of the roll.

At the same moment, the minister, who had just arrived at the pulpit, looked out upon a beaming congregation, not quite believing—as he had never ever before been greeted so warmly—that they were overjoyed to see him. Thus, unmindful of the facts, two people began the Lord’s day in an upbeat state of mind realizing that the world not only admired them, but loved them to boot.
Peggy Keener of Austin is the author of two books: “Potato In A Rice Bowl” and “Wondahful Mammaries.” Peggy Keener invites readers to share their memories with her by emailing maggiemamm16@gmail.com. Memories shared with Keener may be shared or referenced in subsequent editions of “Full Circle.”