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Mary Rea | Somehow, duct tape can be an accessory around here

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Winter in the Methow poses a difficult clothing dilemma. The attire that gets you to a social event is not what you want to be wearing when you arrive.

Say you’re going out and you want to dress up a bit. You put on a nice dress and reach for your little black heels. Ever tried to trudge through snow in little black heels? Doesn’t work. So you’re forced to make your entrance at the party wearing your nice dress and big ugly snow boots, meanwhile carrying your heels and maybe a potluck dish.

Of course you can always show up in your usual winter duds, but if you’re like me you get sick and tired of wearing heavy sweaters, bulky pants and thick socks. Is it too much to want to get dressed up once in a while?

Even a visit to the neighbors can present problems. Some people leave their homes cold, even when the outside temperature is well below freezing. Either they’re arctic types, or they’re trying to save on heating bills. When you visit these people you better be prepared with lots of layers.

Then there are folks like us, who prefer life in the tropics. Our house is always warm enough for T-shirts and sandals. If visitors show up in sweaters, they’re soon overheated and stepping outside to cool down.

There is certain etiquette surrounding winter clothes. It is understood that if you show up at somebody’s house in snow boots you take them off as soon as you arrive inside, so the snow melts off at puddles near the door instead of on the living room rug. It’s always a good idea to check your socks for holes before leaving home.

Surprisingly, if a guy with a hole in his sock repairs it with duct tape he is socially acceptable. In fact, almost everyone in the Methow has one or more garments patched this way. I’ve seen well-worn down jackets that are more duct tape than fabric. Some people even sew the duct tape in place so there’s no chance it will fall off.

My husband spends a lot of winter in Carhart overalls. The cuffs are gravely frayed and one pocket is half ripped off. He wears them over his clothes to parties. You never know when someone will need help with a car that skidded off the road into the ditch

In the Valley, folks have arms and legs that haven’t seen the light of day in months. We’re all waiting for spring so we can shed the wool and lycra and get back to dressing like regular people.

Mary Rea of Mazama is the author of the novel “Ladies Night Out.” Her blog, which follows where her mind wanders, is at maryreabooks.com. She can be reached at m2rea@earthlink.net

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