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Beautiful Ruidoso sky.

Rainclouds and dresses: shear disbelief

An unexpected trip with an unexpected turn of events.

An unusual thing happened on our farm. We received three to five inches of rain in July, something of a novelty on the Texas South Plains, at least in the last couple of years. This much rain means my farmer can shut down our wells, giving us a rare opportunity to escape to the mountains.

When you farm and it rains in July, it’s like being on call. You have to be ready to make reservations, pack and load in a matter of seconds. All other plans are automatically canceled and off you go.

My farmer’s one request when we travel is that we go somewhere cooler than where we live. So, we chose Ruidoso, New Mexico, which is only about five hours away. While there I shopped with my oldest daughter for senior photo outfits, raced my son in a go-kart (he won) and spent some time with my farmer staring at mountains shaded by rain clouds and yet lit with hues of purple and pink from the stunning New Mexico sunset.

In one of the downtown shops, my daughter tried on a dress. We zipped up the cute, sassy garment and knew immediately, it was, “the one.” But when she tried to remove it, the zipper wouldn’t budge. I tried going up, then down. I looked to see if maybe fabric was caught in it. But there was nothing there. I tugged a bit harder, but not too hard, in fear of breaking it. Still, nothing. Tried again and again… nothing.

I apologetically broke the news to the store owner. He, in turn, handed me a pair of needle-nose pliers and some other kind of pliers. Not the “normal tools” I typically need when trying on a dress in a boutique. Usually, all I need is my credit card. But he gave me permission to try.

I pulled. Yanked. Tugged. Still nothing. So, he looked at me and nonchalantly said, “Well, I guess we’ll have to cut it off.” To which I replied, “Are you kidding?” He said, no. I tried again, just sure I could get it to budge. Not an inch. I tried one more time. Natta.

Nervously I reached for the pair of scissors. All I could think was, I’m about to cut off a brand-new dress. It almost felt sinful.

I started at the top. By now, my poor daughter had broken into a sweat -- you know, that feeling when you can’t get something undone, especially when it doesn’t belong to you. I kept cutting until I reached the bottom of the dress and then, still in unbelief laden with guilt, handed the ruined garment to the clerk.

“In all my life, I’ve never had to do that.” He looked back at me and smiled and said, “That’s ok, in my 13 years, I haven’t either.”

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