Get the picture?

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 2, 2010

By Sherry Hopkins

Oh to be petite, delicate and fine boned like the wings of a sparrow. I could fit in anywhere unnoticed. Genteel southern ladies are known for their Lilliputian frames and dainty ways.

They exhibit the manner of fine bone china, not cast iron skillets.

I would love to have a fainting couch in my den. Not so much for fainting but for lounging as if I’m expecting tea and biscuits served on slight silver platters. I could languish there while reading or with a cold cloth upon my forehead as if I were faint. Someone would be at my ready to accomplish any task before him or her eagerly.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Oh, if only I were petite.

Alas, when I was just nine years old and in the fourth grade I was already head and shoulders above even the tallest of boys. My hair was akin to a bird’s nest (and not a nice nest) and I was, despite my stature, mousy in appearance. I slumped my shoulders and dragged my feet as though they were beset with chains and anchors.

I longed to possess the “mannerisms of a lady,” quiet, soft-spoken, and non-intrusive. But I was just a galoot, all legs and arms, feet and mouth.

But I’ve been tall for a half century now and I have put it to good use I suppose. Sweet old ladies in the grocery store always call on me to grab items from higher shelves, shelves out of reach of their diminutive arms. I rarely need a stepladder to accomplish a task above my head. I have never had to sit on a pillow to make my way through a plate of supper.

My presence can be startling I suppose because people are always reminding me that I am tall, like I wasn’t aware of that little fact.

Oh, if I were petite I would have become someone’s dream, a muse perhaps. A gentlewoman with that fainting couch upon which I could laze away my days.

Maybe what I really want is not be to petite but just to own that darn couch.

So I guess I’ll continue on in the role I’ve become accustomed to and be happy. After all, I do have a couch. Albeit a couch potato couch, it is a couch. I’ll serve myself (without the benefit of minions) Diet Dr. Pepper and saltines for high tea and lounge upon my couch while I watch Young & the Restless each afternoon. For that moment I will become petite and soft-spoken, delicate and fine.

And after that hour of fantasy I will return to the tasks at hand and complete them in record time. I will not be petite but still useful in my own gargantuous way.

If only I could stand on my head for a while I know everything would just simply fall into place.

You get the picture?

(Contact award-winning columnist Sherry Hopkins at