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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Define Fancy

I've recently come to realize that the Tongginator has a broad definition of the word fancy... and that's a good thing.

On the same night that the Tongginator met our future Miss America, she also met a charming Mennonite family from Garrett County. Now, for those of you who aren't from around here, Garrett County is a little corner of Maryland that some people confuse with West Virginia.

You've heard those West Virginia jokes, right?

Enough said.

Except that I should also point out that Garrett County is also an amazingly beautiful place, populated with many wonderful people, including this charming Mennonite family. Oh, and my momma's sister, my Aunt P.

And for those of you unfamiliar with the Mennonite community, think Amish people, except add cars and sometimes even electricity. They still live and dress very much as the Amish do, believing it sinful to draw attention to themselves in speech, dress or manner. Humility, simplicity and modesty remain central to their beliefs. So if a four-year-old were to repeatedly tell them they looked fancy, it might not be a good thing.

You know, hypothetically speaking.

Anyways, if the Tongginator felt enchanted by Miss Maryland, she appeared absolutely enthralled with six-year-old Angel and her momma, who wore matching Mennonite dresses. She kept telling them - over and over and over - "you look so fancy!" while she reverently touched the simple pink fabric.

photo courtesy of raforrest on Flickr

Which quite probably was the first time anyone ever said that to little Angel... not because little Angel lacked beauty or charm, but because the word "fancy" sounds like nails on a blackboard to those within the Mennonite community. The Tongginator felt so much in awe of Angel and her momma, she even made ME tell them how fancy they looked. Which I did, with apologetic eyes and a wry smile, because even though I knew little Angel's poor momma realized the Tongginator's heart was in the right place, she still had to feel mighty uncomfortable.

But I didn't lie. They DID look fancy in their plain dresses, with their simple hairstyles. They looked fancy because their faces glowed with kindness and purity. They radiated goodness, y'all.

And THAT'S fancy.


PIPO said...

Fancy that!

Love that story with the last paragraph being the best of all.

Dawn said...

Now if she'll just remember this while clothes shopping at, say... 15 years of age!

Aunt LoLo said...

What a sweet, sweet girl. I think she's charming!!! :-D

happygeek said...

Love that girlie.
So good at seeing the beauty.

Carolina Mama said...

Too sweet. I think the Little Tongginator is right! And how cool she met Ms. Maryland! Go Ms. Maryland!! :)

Saint Louis Family Robinson said...

I hear ya sister... we have a broad difinition of Fancy at our house too. I beginning to think that Fancy is applied to everything that I am not.

Lisa said...

I love that even at her young age, the T recognizes true beauty! Very cool.

Polar Bear said...


Tongginator has such a sweet heart.

Wonderful post!

Misty said...

very sweet post.
fancy that. :)

Jillene said...

How sweet!! Maybe she will remember that when she gets a little older because the price of clothing is OUTRAGEOUS!! (0;

Soliloquy said...

Out of the mouths of babes.

I pray Angel and her momma were able to hear TRUTH about who they are in Christ.

'Cause that's all kinds of fancy!

Rebecca of "China, Baby!" said...

I think the Amish & Mennonite women are very beautiful, myself...

Tongginator knows true beauty when she sees it!


prechrswife said...

So sweet. There was a large Mennonite population in the area of south GA where we used to live--such nice people. There was a Mennonite restaurant in the next county, and the couple who owned it has 2 little girls adopted from China. Imagine 2 little Chinese girls in Mennonite dresses--just adorable.

Carla said...

Now that is a very sweet sweet story. Yes, they DO radiate goodness (well at least all the Mennonite families I have met).

Kerry said...

So wonderful to hear the sincere thoughts of our little ones. What a sweetie.

My 5 year old has always declared people to be pretty, handsome, etc. And I often take a double take. But always agree with her sweet comments and reasoning.
Love that they see beauty everywhere and hope that they always will.

discombobulated said...

Out of the mouths of babes. Hope you are going to write a book. Any topic would enthrall anyone.

Janet said...

'Tis fancy indeed.

Mamatini said...

I love this story. It says so much. And I agree with SLF Robinson (hey you!), in our house, "fancy" is defined as "anything Mama is not!" :/

CC said...

What a sweetie!!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I love this story!! From Miss Maryland to the Amish. I have to say, living very close to a couple of Amish farms, we see the horse drawn carriages often and the children leaving the little one room school houses....it is a very intriguing...even as an adult.

Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

Awwwww. I'm sure they took it as it was meant - a compliment!
The Tongginator is so sweet, who could resist her charms?

Anonymous said...

I don't blame your little Tongginator...you just feel drawn when in the presence of Amish or Mennonite folk. One of my favorite parts of my job is when I have to make a visit deep in the heart of one of our Amish communities. The first time I was ever sent to Tunas, I thought I had lost my way because I had driven forever...finally, I saw a girl in Amish attire riding a bicycle towards me and I rolled down my window to ask her where Lead Mine Road was. I felt a little silly when the young lady indicated it was just over the next rise.

I felt a little "overdone" as I stepped out of my car, parked next to a buggy and horse. But, I REALLY felt "overdone" a little while later when my beeper went off. Two Amish women watched as I pulled out my work cell phone to see why the office had paged me. Not getting a signal, I dropped that phone carelessly into my nursing bag and pulled out a second cell phone (my personal phone, which is with a different carrier) and proceeded to check if IT had a signal...that is when their eyes REALLY widened and one asked me incredulously, "You have TWO phones?" By that point I was feeling way, way, way too fancy.

TRS said...

Wow... Wouldn't it be great if (I'm guessing/hoping you might suffer from the same affliction as I - namely, thinking of the exact right thing to say - a half hour too late) you could have said, "Clearly, my daughter is refering to your radient glow. It's a beauty like she's never seen before. Especially where we come from!"