“Mom, you’ve got to get a job like Jody’s, so you can wear clothes like hers! Courtney said when she saw her aunt still dressed in her work clothes. Bank Vice president clothes look a little different than what my daughter had seen for my work clothes. A stark comparison to the pearls and high heels Jody had on. She wore a smartly tailored black skirt stopping just above her knees. Even after a full day of work her white blouse was neatly tucked into her trim waist- still clean and white, no coffee stains, no wrinkles. The jacket she had draped over her arm still held its creases. A gold chain with two pearls, one black and one white, lay gently at her neck. She wore simple make-up, just eyeliner and pale pink lipstick which still looked freshly applied. Her straight black hair clipped back with not a strand out of place.

A bright smile radiated, emitting a warm glow.

Her soft hands were clean, her nails neatly trimmed. I looked down at my own hands, thick with calluses. Even though they were freshly scrubbed, my nails were rimmed in dirt and grime. Deep cracks too were black with layers of ground in dirt.

I wore no jewelry, not even my wedding band and never make-up.

My work clothes, clothes I wore not just on weekdays, but every day, day in and day out, were vastly different from my sister-in-laws. On my feet I wore tall rubber boots. An old pair of jeans or sweatpants held up by bailing twine and stuffed into the tops. I wore a t- shirt and in the winter, a sweatshirt and several layers of flannel shirts. All old, all too big and always dirty.

No matter how often I washed my clothes, they always ended up dirty practically the second I walked into the barn. Cow manure and silage, such strong pungent odors permeated my clothes, my hair. There was no escaping it. With 100 cows in the barn, the gutter behind them was never empty. Their waste splashed down sending airborne particles and clumps of smelly organic matter splattering it everywhere. Cow tails lay in the gutter behind them soaking up the same. A quick flick of their tail to swat at a fly too sent the waste flinging around the barn. Landing on anything, everything in the way.

My hair was always tied back, braided and covered with a bandana in a feeble attempt at keeping it smell free.
I am sad the cows are gone, sad for the loss of the farm, but I am not sad about the change in my work clothes.

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