Defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary as “having dignified richness and grace, as of manner, design, dress; tastefully luxurious.”
While doing my evening shopping, I observed an older black woman working in the drug store. I happened to take notice of her manner – the way she spoke, how she chose her words, her dress and how she carried herself. Though she issued gentle criticism and was soured by a recent turn of events pertaining to a fellow worker, the words seemed to pass by as a light inquiry. I passed a remark to her fellow worker behind the counter and asked if she (the clerk serving me) knew about Dixie Carter. She replied with a disinterested, “No.” I went about my way.
Strolling through the park, I began to envision Mrs. Dixie Carter−graceful, multitalented, demure, classic, intelligent, wise and beautiful. I remarked aloud, “She was an elegant lady.” As I think of her now, I recall the evening we met after a stage show in downtown Houston at a nearby Italian pub. So merciful and gracious, she was, making eye contact with each person who quietly and peacefully clamored to receive her attention.
I stood back and waited until she came closer and greeted her “Hello, Mrs. Carter,” with a smile and gentle bow of my head. She looked me straight in the eyes and asked, ”How are you?” I said I was well or something of the sort, but she seemed genuinely interested and honored by our presence to meet her. It was as if she released grace and honor through her presence.
This line of thought brought me to consider the lack of pure quiet, powerful grace and beauty in the media. Walking down the street, I tend to notice the harsh words women speak to their children, the antagonistic tones and failures to reply when greeted. Why? From whence does the shame come?
I’ve decided to dive deeply into this matter and bring forth the truth of the issue: the lack of elegance in modern American culture.