Beware the Pencil Skirt


I arrived back in the Pacific Northwest a week ago, however, I didn’t arrive home until Monday night. I took time to visit with my sister, celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday, and make two trips to Central Oregon to search for a new home. Our home in Hermiston sold while I was on book tour. Tim and I will be leaving Eastern Oregon after some 35 years. For Tim even longer than that, since his family home is in the Wallowas, although, even his parents reside on the Westside of the state now.

To say I am feeling discombobulated would not sum up the flood of emotions I am sorting through. (Did I mention the only house-hunting I like to do is with HGTV?) I didn’t pick out the house we have lived in here. I was on book tour. Tim picked it and moved us in while I was away. It’s been a good home, though. I’ve enjoyed it very much. It’s full of light and when we first moved in there were nothing but huge empty nesting grounds all around us. No longer. Urban sprawl took over the pheasant nests.

There is a lot I am going to miss about living in Eastern Oregon, but I am looking forward to being closer to my kids and grands. I’m also looking forward to the beauty of Central Oregon. There is much to do in the way of outdoor activities and there are bookstores and coffee shops and universities and colleges nearby. I will likely dread the snow, but there is also an airport in the town we will be living in, so getting away won’t be impossible.

I’ve been home 48 hours and managed to get unpacked between a flurry of business and personal phone calls.

Life happens, as they say.

Sometimes it happens all in a matter of seconds.

By 7 a.m. today I had two daughters in crisis mode. Both of them dealing with personal issues, albeit of differing natures. One was in a pickle. The other was in a pencil skirt.

I was talking with the one in a pickle when the one in the pencil skirt called and left me a voicemail, something she rarely does so I knew it was important.

“Mom! I’m stuck in my skirt and I can’t get out!” she cried.

As soon as I finished the phone call with the first daughter in crisis mode, I called 2nd daughter in crisis mode.

“Whaaaaat? You are stuck in your skirt?”

“YES!” she cried. “I put the skirt on but the zipper got stuck – you know how zippers get off track? This one did and now I can’t fix it and I can’t get it off!”

I responded in that dignified way of good mamas everywhere – I busted up laughing. I laughed so hard, tears were creeping out my eyes. I had a difficult time catching my breath.

“It’s not funny, MAMA!”

“I want pictures! Can you video it?”


“Okay, sorry.” I sucked back another laugh. “It’s just of all the emergency calls I imagined you making over the years, this isn’t one of them.”


“Well. Do you have a pair of scissors nearby? How much did you pay for the skirt? You may have to cut your way out of it, if it wasn’t too expensive. You know what you really need? You need a man in your life to unzip your skirts for you.”


“Okay. Okay. Do you have scissors?”

“Yes. I turned the skirt around but I can’t get it unzipped even that way. It’s stuck.”

“I thought only fat girls got stuck in their skirts. I never considered that skinny girls like you could too. Guess you shouldn’t wear pencil skirts over your bubble butt, huh?”


“Well that explains how come I never wear pencil skirts. Those things are just straitjackets for your behinney.”


“What are you going to do? Is there somebody you could call? Maybe call the Fire Department. I bet there’d be a lot of firefighters willing to extract you from your skirt. Do you have on good panties? You know a girl should always wear sexy underwear for emergencies just like this one.”


“Okay, well how can I help? I can’t run over. Just go ahead and cut it off. That’s my recommendation. That’s what I’d do.”

“I have needle nose pliers. I’m going to try those first.”

“Okay,” I said, giggling again. “I can honestly say I’ve never had occasion where I needed a pair of pliers to extricate myself out of a garment before. But then again, I spend most of my life in leggings and sweaters. Nobody ever got trapped in those that I know of. Just beware, you might want to avoid pencil skirts in the future. Or at least until you get a roomie willing to help you shimmy out of your clothes.”

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of CHRISTIAN BEND: A novel (Mercer University Press).


Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.



about 5 years ago

Will you move your rose bushes?


Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

Yes, taking rose bushes from Mama and the monkey grass I brought from a girlfriend's yard in Georgia years ago. Alas, I have to leave behind the lilac trees my daughters bought me. I have one for each girl. That will be difficult. I'll miss having a backyard. New home doesn't have much of a yard.


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