I was so grateful I had brought a cardigan.
I chalk it up to my Auntie P. “Bring a cardigan,” she tells me, even if it is 85 degrees, and we are leaving the house for approximately 5 minutes, all of which will be spent in the sunshine. “Bring a cardigan,” she says, even if I am already wearing one. And if I refuse? She will carry an extra one for me. She is unstoppable in her quest to clothe the bare arms and shoulders of America. You’d think she had stock in … I don’t know, some company that exclusively makes cardigans (that’s a thing, right?)
The cardigan is, to my aunt, what the towel was to Ford Prefect in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The ultimate travel accessory, it solves all problems, tackles all inconveniences, and somehow, according to her, “prevents you from catching a cold.” And when I left the house that morning, and stepped into the 90-degree Kansas heat, I was thankful that I had it with me.
Within 30 minutes, I had tugged it on. Was I chilly? Nope. I was in the midwest in the MIDDLE OF A HEAT WAVE. But I was more than moderately ashamed of my tank top and shorts. We had just walked through the door of Carriage Crossing – a Mennonite restaurant in Yoder, Kansas, a fifteen minute drive from my friends’ home in Wichita. My friend Christine had to work that day, and her son Jackson was at daycare, so it was just her husband, Jason, dressed in a polo shirt and shorts (he politely removed his hat as we walked indoors), and me. Dressed like a TROLLOP.