Simply Lou: Attack of the Panty Heads
article and illustration by Lou Davenport
Happy Holidays, ya’ll! I start my holidays near Halloween. My daughter, Paige, was born on Halloween. So, that’s when all “the real fun” starts! Then comes Thanksgiving and I eat way too much, laugh too much and have to go lay down. Then as soon as I see the “Leg Lamp” (Hot Damn! Tonight’s the Night!) lit up over on Park Avenue, the Christmas season officially begins! FRA-JILL-EE! Soon my kids and I go on our annual “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” to give our awards for the tackiest Christmas decorations we can find.
And,then,The ATTACK OF THE PANTY HEADS! The most anticipated event of all my holiday fun. So, I am going to reveal one of my family’s secrets along with it’s history. There really is a method to our madness!
I have myself a “squad” that includes my cousins, Judi, Margaret, Loretta and our daughters, Nancy, Amy, Carolyn and Paige. I had a “squad” long before Taylor Swift was even born! Most of “My Squad” and I have already been to “Ball Gowns, Bubbly and Ballet” to cheer on our Nancy Little, the brain child of that event. Then, we were out again to the first annual North Delta Food and Wine Festival to cheer on our very own Ronnie Ecklund from Key West, Florida as one of the featured guest chefs. Oh, yes! We are proud of our kids! Two straight weekends of us getting all dolled up? That is historic! So, we are already in a full blown holiday alert!
My family is amazing with a great cast of characters! It’s a big, loud, tight-knit, Southern family. I know I am biased, but I do think I have the best family in the whole world. When I say my family is BIG, I am not kidding. It is GINORMOUS, and I love each one of them. We love a get-together! I once thought that everyone’s family was like mine, but sadly, I have learned that is not true. I am so blessed to have the one I have. We can make our own fun anytime, anywhere, any chance we get. It really does not take much for us to be entertained! We have also weathered many storms together, and even during them,we found our humor and made it through together. As Willie Nelson sings, “We’re a band of brothers and sisters and whatever… on a mission to break all the rules..And I know you love me, cause I love you, too!”
There are a few cousins that I am especially close to. Judi, Loretta and Margaret are my “almost” sisters…my inner circle. We have been close since we were babies! And, I might add we have “been through it ALL together.” Being an only child, I do not think God could have given me better “real” sisters than these three! Willie sings it again, “I love ya, cause you’re crazy like me!”
When Margaret, Judi, Loretta and I were little, The Mamas thought we needed to look like those paper doll girls with all that curled hair! GEEZ LOUISE, The Mamas loved to pin curl us! A HORRIFIC ordeal. Like most Southern Mamas, they wanted us to look our very best to go to church on Sunday. But, the ONLY good part of this “ordeal” was when we all got our hair nets to wear through the night. Oh, not the ones you might think. The Mamas put pairs of panties on our heads! We were delighted and giggled our heads off! I cannot tell you how many times we have laughed about our “panty head hair nets” through the years!
Several years ago, I found a bin of the ugliest, tackiest, panties I have ever seen, and they were “dirt cheap!” I had a brainstorm that if I bought all “the squad” a pair, we could just put them on our heads and have a party! We can make a party about just about anything! That brainstorm was a smashing success so, the Annual Panty Head Party was born!
Since I was the instigator of this madness, I am the self-proclaimed “Queen of the Panty Heads.” If you attended the first party, you are considered a charter member. My aunts, now aged 95 and 98 attended the first event. And although one of them says she did not put a pair of panties on her head, we all know better. We have pictures! Those aunts were not about to be left out, so we call them, “The Elders.” Even our young ones get in on all the fun and are referred to as “The Youngsters.” We have three generations that love to laugh and be silly!
Membership in our exclusive club is fairly easy. You must be invited though, (we do have a screening process!) We buy our inductees a special pair of panties and then they must agree to have a picture made wearing their “official” panties on their heads! And YES we post it on Facebook! Then, you are IN! No rules or dues, just your solemn oath to come to have fun. SO, the family secret is out. And, remember I do not make this stuff up. It’s all true.
The 7th Annual Panty Head Party is shaping up to be one of the best yet. Plans start early. We all love Christmas movies, so there will be a touch of Cousin Eddie with our first signature cocktail, The Blue Leisure Suit. Our foods are separated into sweet and savory or as we like to say, naughty or nice. Our ornament exchange gets rowdy, because we play “Bad Santa” (because we all love Billy Bob Thornton, the worst Santa ever). There are silly games and awards. Dress code requires the ugliest, tackiest Christmas outfit you can find. We also try to be charitable, so we’ll be bringing some kitchen utensils to donate to my daughter, Carolyn’s, FACS class. Since we are invading Carolyn’s house this year, too, her dogs get to be the “Bumpus Hounds!”
After the Panty Head Party is over, we usually end up at someone’s house for Christmas Eve, Christmas pajamas only. And you will find us all ganged up for New Year’s Eve somewhere, being loud and rowdy. We all eat our share of black eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day.
In closing, “Cousins are like panties. Some crawl up your butt. Some snap under pressure. Some do not have the strength to hold you up. Some get a little twisted. Some are your favorites. Some are holy. Some are cheap. But the good ones will cover your butt when you need them.” So, here’s to all my precious cousins and family and here’s to you and yours! I hope ya’ll have the Merriest Christmas full of family, love and filled with the true spirit of the season. God bless each and every one of you and may we all pray for peace on earth.
And, I ‘triple dog dare you” to put a pair of panties on your head and not laugh!