Crow's-Feet Chronicles: No additives---travel light
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Feb 18, 2019
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Before Lanny and I leave on any international trip, I pack my bag, pull it to the end of the driveway, drag it back to the house, and empty half of it.  If I’m going to run through airports, lift my carry-on bag over my head in the plane, and hop on and off European trains, I need a wardrobe that is not only versatile but could fit into a gym bag. 

My wise shopping has paid off.  “This,” said the salesperson, “is the Weekender.  It has four basic pieces that will take you from a super casual afternoon to a formal evening.  This next one is the Fortnighter.  It’s an eleven-piece coordinated collection designed to meet all the fashion requirements of a three-week holiday.  And over here, of course, is the Around-the-World in Eighty Days.  It’s twenty-two pieces that combine to make one hundred fifty-five outfits.” 

“How does it work?” I asked. 

“Simple.  Here is your basic pantsuit.  Take off the blouse and add a vest and you’re ready for polo.  Take off the slacks, put on the shorts and you’re dressed for bicycling.  Zip the lining into the shorts, add the halter, and it’s a bathing suit.  Take the straps off the halter and it’s a bra.  Add a short skirt and you’re ready for tennis. Now, turn the blouse inside out and it’s a bathrobe.  Turn down the cuffs on the slacks, take the belt off the over-blouse and you’re in your jammies.” 

“It certainly is versatile,” I stammered. 

“Versatile!  Look at the accessories.  This elasticized halter can get you a sun tan, but when pulled down over the hips, it’s a girdle.  Now slip into the evening skirt, cover with this veil, and you’re ready to get married.  Or slap a monogram on the jacket and you can pass for a member of the U.S. Olympic Chess team.  The long skirt is plastic-lined.  If you have to, you could convert it into a tent and live out of it for a week.  Or snap out the sleeves in the over-blouse and it’s a caftan.

Take off the scarf, roll down the sleeves of the blouse, put it on backward, take off your underwear, and it’s a hospital gown.  Trust me, there are enough combinations to mix and match for eighty days.” 

In 2014, I traveled to Mississippi with my cousin Jan.  When her luggage was stacked by the door it looked like the road company of “Les Miserables.”  And she carefully and methodically unpacked her bags in the hotel room as if she were setting up escrow on the building. 

While traveling, Lanny and I measure time by his underwear.  Every Monday he wears the Blondie and Dagwood print while Tuesday’s Mickey Mouse print is drying and Wednesday’s Joe Palooka is being hand washed in the sink. 

My versatility plan is a major fail, since I’ve typically outgrown my clothes by the time we clear Customs.