Cousin Jean had never had a large social circle. She was friendly with the nearby farmers and a few villagers and tradespeople, so Geneva decided to hold a simple service at the tiny village service. She was to be buried in her favorite clothes, the ones she puttered about the farm in.
This did not suit Ellen at all since it was not proper, so in a snit, she decided not to attend, just what Geneva and Charles hoped. Nonetheless, as promised, Viola dropped by Monday afternoon with the black dress. With Viola’s work, it fit perfectly, but Ellen wanted a few changes.
“You need to lower the neck and back. I want to show off my neck and my grandmother’s ruby pendant. This black is too severe and needs some kind of trim at the neck. I wouldn’t wear it like this to a dogfight!” Ellen snapped.
Viola snapped right back. “You had me fix this for a funeral. Ain’t no way you could wear it to a funeral like that, and I ain’t got time to get it done and back by tomorrow, no how!”
“Viola, you need to learn your place! I’ve decided to use it for evening, not a funeral, if it’s any of your business, so take it back and get it right or you won’t get any more of my business. Don’t you think my girls will be needing wedding dresses in a few years?” Ellen had miscalculated this time. Viola worked for herself, not Jessie, as Ellen assumed.
“I can get by just fine without your kind of business. Besides, Old Cora ain’t planning on too many more years. I have more work than I can keep up with now. If you still want it, I can probably get to this in ’bout a month, But I ain’t promisin’ nothing. It will run you ’bout twenty dollars for altering.” Viola folded the dress back into the box.
“Viola, wait! I want to order some custom dresses for my girls.” Ellen told her.
“Miss Ellen. I have orders for wedding and debutante dress lined up for eighteen months. They ain’t no way I can take on no regular sewing. Besides, I b’lieve you too hard to work for. I’m gonna have a cup of coffee with Cora and be on my way.” She took the dress and called down the stairs ahead of her. “Yoo hoo! Cora! You got any coffee left?
Ellen slammed the door behind her. “That uppity bitch!” But she wanted that black dress.