Browsing in a thrift shop a few months ago, I noticed a very lovely scarf and commented to the manager how nice it was. He had come down from the main office in L.A. and was definitely an A type, very classy and knowledgeable.
"Oh, yes. That's a lovely Pashmina," he said.
"What did you say?" I had never heard that word before.
"Pashmina," he repeated.
"How do you spell it?"
He proceeded to spell the word and did not seem to mind. Nor did he treat me like the uncivilized and clueless soul that I really was.
Indeed, the small label on the shawl did read 'Pashmina', so I decided this exotic thing had to come to my possession that very day. After all, to be the owner of a Pashmina just might rocket me into the 'fashionista' category, of which this semi-tropical beach town is well populated.
Having collected quite a few large scarves in the past several years, along with a goodly amount of hats, all of which help me to ward off the searing tropical sun, are 'musts' when going out into the street.
Years ago my daughter, who is definitely on the front lines of what is happening on just about all levels of society, had given me several scarves for my birthday. They were lovely colors and I used them frequently. My sister, too, who is on the glamorous side, had gifted me with beautiful silk scarves from Paris and other fashion conscious cities, and they were splashed with cunning designs.
But life goes on and tastes and situations change. Time came, little by little, when most of these lovely gifts flew away with the winds of change. Moving several times contributed to these losses.
Today, I am just recovering from a bad case of bronchitis, which I somehow contracted when visiting a new doctor and may have picked up on the bus rides to and fro or maybe in the waiting room, or perhaps it was just meant to be.
So the one and only scarf I had left, a pale yellow one my daughter had given me at least ten years ago, was the only one left to wrap around my head and neck to keep the drafts out.
In my stupor (for it was a really bad illness) I sometimes wrapped it around my head like a turban. I imagined people in the Sahara desert wrapping their turbans in careful ways so the sandstorms would not blow them away.
My turban efforts, however, unraveled at the slightest turn of my head. Then I tried the 'burka' look - covering my nose and mouth with the cloth to ease my coughing. That didn't last long since I could hardly breathe that way.
Now my health is coming back and I am shedding the heavy coverings and seldom cover my neck and head unless I feel a chill coming on. I look at this pale yellow shawl which has been with me so many years and even helped me during my illness.
I knew my daughter was swift and sharp as a tack, but would she really know what a super fashion snob from L.A. would know? Besides, this was just a pale yellow thing with fringes, but there was something that made me hang on to it when all the other fabulous wraps went the way of 'old energy', as they say in the flowing words of Feng Shue.
Now that I have my wits about me again, I look at the label of my daughter's gift that has such staying and healing power.