Monday, August 2, 2010
Aprons have been figuring prominently in my mind lately – I love aprons. Not the silly little ruffley things Lucy Ricardo used to tie around her waist, but real aprons, working aprons. The kind with a bib.
I guess I was thinking about it because my friend Sally posted a link to Beaver Lake Aprons on Facebook – I loved the one pictured above. Cows! What could be better for an apron featuring your basic Holstein? The only thing this otherwise perfect apron is missing is a pocket on the top of the apron as well as the big ones on the bottom. Why does it need a top pocket? So you have someplace to put your iPod!
Who cooks or cleans or does anything else sufficiently messy as to require an apron without listening to an iPod while you’re doing it? Certainly not me. I go through book after book from Audible.com when I’m doing any of those things – but that means I need a top pocket in the apron to hold the expensive little device.
Stupid, isn’t it? The iPod alone among contemporary listening devices lacks any means to attach it to your person. Any of us who want to listen while we do something else have to find some other place to tuck it -- modesty prevents me from disclosing where I occasionally do put the thing. Only when absolutely necessary, of course, times when I can’t be wearing an apron.
Anyway, the need to have a place to put my iPod is admittedly about half the reason I wear the apron.
Of course I didn’t realize that when I first got here and sewed up my first set of Israeli aprons – I hadn’t taken any with me, so one afternoon I sewed up a few using some scrap fabric I’d salvaged from other people’s cast offs, oddments thrown outside near the dumpster. I put big pockets on the bottom of most of them, but when I made that first set, I had a different MP3 player, one with a belt clip. It never occurred to me to sew in an additional pocket on top, to hold something like that. Then, after I graduated to an iPod, I had to go back and redesign the aprons. All the original fabric was gone, so I just cut up an old red pillowcase and sewed a bright red pocket on the top of each one. Some look pretty strange, others look better than they did before. It doesn’t really matter.
Or so I thought, yesterday, when I heard someone banging on my front gate. I’m still packing for the move and in this heat and humidity, I was way beyond filthy, but there I was, in my raggy hard-work clothes topped off with a pretty snazzy apron. Turned out it was my across-the-courtyard neighbor who wanted his mail. They’d been away for a few days and I’d been collecting the mail.
I opened the gate, and the look on his face when he saw me in the raggy clothes and the bright green apron with its classy red pocket was priceless. I didn’t know it, but apparently aprons in Israel – or some of them, anyway -- are items of serious cultural curiosity. My neighbor had never seen anyone – let alone a crazy Americaine – decked out that way.
“Kol hakavod,” he laughed, throwing his arms in the air. “Look at you!” I thought he was referring to the filthy clothes. But no – it was my magnificent apron that caught his attention. “What is that you are wearing? You wear a dress over your dress?”
“No,” I explained, still a little befuddled over all this fuss. “It’s an apron. Just an apron. I used it to hold my iPod.”
“Turn around!” he insisted, absolutely fascinated. “Oh! It only covers your front?”
“And you wear that all the time?”
“No. Only when I’m doing something really messy. Or when I need to put my iPod somewhere.”
He still couldn’t get his mind around this amazing garment. “Do all American women wear these – how you say? -- aprons?”
“I don’t think so. Actually, I think it’s only older women who do, but I could be wrong. You’ve never seen an apron before?”
The Iraqi-born, now-retired Israeli Army general howled with delight. “No, no, no. Never. I guess my mother just let her dress get dirty.”
“So where did she put her iPod?” I asked. He threw his head back and howled again, shaking his head as he walked away, marveling at the vast array of odd people who manage to make their way to Israel.
Well! As far as I can see, it’s a darn good thing there are some of us crazy Americaines around here – we sure do liven things up. What would they do without us?
All in all, it's probably a good thing I wasn’t wearing the ‘cow’ apron. That might have been too much for him to handle.
If Beaver Lake Aprons has a website, I can’t find it. But here’s a YouTube video with more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai0TtRs33RM