Church ladies.  The phrase makes me think of those ladies whose children have grown and moved out, they may have retired by now, and they most assuredly have gray hair.  The last is a requirement.

Garrison Keillor has immortalized them in loving memory. His Lake Woebegone tales have filled the airwaves and bookshelves for over 30 years now.  Saturday Night Live pilloried them unmercifully for several years.

Either way, my vision still works.  Older, perhaps a bit menopausal, and definitely gray hair.

But now I’ve been called a church lady.  I beg to differ!  I am a somewhat hip, forty something mother of two teens.  I can not be the church lady. I drive a minivan, Tweet, and still listen to the Violent Femmes (okay not often and not when the kids are in the car, but I could!) And while I have recently begun to do a bit of touch up hair coloring I am most definitely not going gray yet.

And who dumped this label on me?  The orthodontist.  I’m paying this man to adjust my kid’s teeth and he brands me with this.  Of course, it could have been because I was hitting him up at the same time for a donation to the annual church bazaar.

Of course, the bucket of Religious Education materials, or the bag of table linens needing to be washed that always seem to be in my car wouldn’t have a THING to do with it.  Perhaps it’s a look at my calendar that seems to fill every moment I’m not hauling children to dance or 4-H with a church item.

I think the topper was at the end of my father’s funeral a few weeks ago when the priest remarked that I had been ordered NOT to go into the kitchen and help.  I even got questioned by a 17 year old as to why I had stepped in there.  Really, I was just getting a glass of water for my mother.  Really, I wasn’t working!

I’m beginning a campaign to redefine this vision.  Church ladies can be fun.  Have you ever wondered why we’re all a little giggly in there? It’s because we occasionally have a bottle of wine just for us.  I mean it gets hot in there and we deserve a little treat.

So bring on the new, younger, hipper vision of the church lady.  Let’s live it up!  Now don’t forget the upcoming potluck I’ll have to check whether I’m on salad or main course, the First Communion reception is in May I need to get punch supplies and order the cake, oh I just remembered a bake sale is scheduled next weekend and I  really ought to bake something for that…..