The Humble Apron

I am quaint. I am humble. I do the work of many. I come in all shapes and sizes. I am full of color and full of life. I am of frugal means, yet I am as beautiful as Cinderella dressed for the ball! My arms lovingly surround to protect. I wave good bye to loved ones and caress the tears of children. I am at your beck and call. I am here to serve. I am your apron.

My history dates back to Medieval and Renaissance times when I was a mere square of hand woven linen cloth attached to ties that surrounded the waist of my peasant worker. I protected her skirt from soil and tear. As time went on after the 1500s, certain of my kind were fancy with elaborate hand-loomed laces and expensive embroidery. I was highly valued and handed down to a favored family member as an heirloom.

But then in my simpler form, I crossed the Atlantic with the Pilgrims. My journey was long and arduous. I managed to carry sustenance to those around me on our swaying ocean-going vessel but also wiped the mouths of children after seasickness had touched their sickly bodies.

After having reached The New World, a bib was attached to my waist so that the front of my body from the shoulders to below the waist protected clothing underneath.

I was soiled by locomotive smoke as I travelled by train and later, by wagon train as I crossed this vast, unexplored country to the prairies of my future home. I carried twigs and sticks to help start camp fires and served as a transporter of food from covered wagon to those camp fires.

As decades marched on, my utilitarian style that had served so well became lighter spirited! Ruffles, fancy trims, and handiwork were created to adorn me. More than once, I was given as a gift to be worn when food was served at gatherings of guests and family.

I occupied bureau drawers in an array of colors and fabrics. As America grew, I continued to be part of a woman’s wardrobe as she went about her daily homemaking responsibilities. The corners of my skirt wiped the chimneys of kerosene lanterns and later protected hands from the heat of electric light bulbs.

Not only did I carry feed to the chickens but also carried their eggs back into the warm, homey kitchen. I went to the garden to transport freshly grown sweet peas back to the porch for shelling. And just when I thought I could rest a spell, I was called on to wipe a nose, clean the inside of ears, or wipe clean hands.

Still today, I work day and night in home kitchens and restaurants across this land ensuring spills of flour, cooking oil, and food stains do not soil valuable clothing.

But do not despair! The daring side of me exhibits buttons and bows on a color wheel of fancier fabrics creating a fashion statement that makes me extremely attractive to young and old.

My bib is an advertiser’s dream!

From my lowly beginning centuries ago, my value has proven to be timeless. Forthcoming generations will continue to proclaim my worthy virtues. I serve with pride! I am your humble apron.

Miss NiNi

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