I am not the most joining kind of person. I tend to avoid social activities like the plague. I'm not particularly shy; merely a little antisocial. "I'm not afraid of people," I'll be quick to tell you, "I just don't like them." (This is a bold-faced lie, but it sounds so fun I can't resist typing it.) Nevertheless, I know social activities are good for me. They get me out of the house. They force me to interact with people I might otherwise never get to meet. Once committed, I dread them and bemoan my fate up until I get in the car, but I nearly always have fun in spite of myself.
Thus it was when a friend from Ozark Mountain Players called this week and asked if I could possibly help judge a costume contest for the Douglas County 150th year celebration, I said yes. After all, I've been assistant costume mistress for OMP's productions of "Laura's Memories" for three years now and listened to the costume mistress (my mother) talk about period costumes for a good 13 years prior to those. When I told Great Scott, he said, "Well, that's very civic minded of you," a comment that immediately brought to mind The Civic Minded Five from the old 90's cartoon The Tick. Indeed, as I headed toward Douglas county this morning, I was feeling a lot like The Carpeted Man (click on link and scroll down), which is to say hot and itchy just thinking about it.
Of course, I enjoyed myself. The costumes were truly wonderful, and the three of us judging had a very difficult time of it. There were several pioneer ladies; a whole pioneer family complete with little boys in buckskins; young ladies in gorgeous, hoop skirted, ringlet-curled glory; a mountain man with handmade leather boots, clothes made from period patterns and a hat that some mother animal used to love; a widow whose black veil covered her from hat brim to below her knees; a stunning green fancy dress and matching hat with feathers; and the first place prize, a grey dress with a hoop skirt almost as wide as its wearer was tall, its skirt ruffled in layers, each trimmed in black ribbon, the matching bonnet period perfect, an unassuming outfit whose wearer looked like she'd stepped straight out of a civil war picture. I loved the costumes; I loved working with the other judges; and the ladies who were running the whole kit and caboodle from the grandstand have my utter admiration for their organizational skills and good humor.
The day was, in short, a good one, a good one in spite of the self-image I sometimes try too hard to maintain: that of a somewhat snarly recluse. It was good to remember that I DO like people and to remember how much, something I suspect I need to do more often.