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Both Gill and L’il Sis (and Crazy D, it should be admitted) used to love playing dress-up as children. In Gill’s case, it is a game she enjoys to this day. During this year’s Christmas holidays, Gill outdid herself in the game of dress-up.

It all began with L’il Sis’s wedding preparations. She will be married this coming summer — at the nearby Donkey Sanctuary. It will be, as the venue suggests, non-traditional, unorthodox, and just plain wacky. The fact that L’il Sis has been trolling web sites that feature dogs in the wedding party proves this. I understand her desire for Groucho, the Dominican rescue dog, to be treated as the important family member he is. Somewhat harder to grasp is the desire to dress him up in a costume for the occasion. But hey, knowing how this family rolls, I should not be surprised. It may even be the case that I, upon occasion, have encouraged this bizarre behavior. My kids only have to bring up the Bjork costume I proudly wore to a college dinner a few years ago (thus making it impossible to claim that it was a youthful folly since regretted) to silence me and prove me to be the instigator that I am.

I foolishly asked if L’il Sis might consider wearing my old wedding veil for the big day. I knew the answer would likely be ‘no’ since such a veil would be out of place at a donkey sanctuary. She did decline my offer but piped up that Groucho might look fetching in it, thus leading us to raid my closet hunting for the veil. Embracing the spirit of the day, I chimed in: “Oh, it’s perfect! We could hack it off a bit and let him wear it as a tutu!” This, of course, ignores the fact that Groucho is a male dog and as such, would be ridiculous in a tutu. Come to think of it, a tutu would be ridiculous on any dog, male OR female.

But my suggestion had legs as far as L’il Sis was concerned. After all, this is the dog that wears a winter coat with faux fur hood and winter boots that only serve to accentuate the crooked nature of his bent and busted legs, making it appear that he is going four different directions at the same time. But being from a warm clime, he needs the coat and boots to help him fend off the bitter Canadian winter.

In my closet, we found the box containing the veil. It looked ridiculous on L’il Sis with her current hairdo and it looked only marginally better on me, although 50 years ago, it had been lovely. We tried it on Groucho and, I have to say, he looked stunning! So there’s a good chance that this little game of dress-up will turn out to be the precursor for the actual wedding garb.

During our search (or hidden treasure hunt) in my closet, we also discovered a fox fur hat that I bought in the late 60s. It was orange, the natural color of a fox. Gill grabbed onto it and tried it on. She fell in love instantly. She suffers from ‘sharp ears’, her term for the pain she regularly gets from ear infections that have plagued her since childhood and this fur hat was warm, enveloping her head much more completely that her favorite toque. She petted the hat, admired it in the mirror, pirouetting around like a peacock displaying its tail feathers. Then, to complete the look, she charged down the stairs to the front hall closet and yanked out an assortment of old fur coats. They were my mother’s coats passed on to me but rarely worn since the styles are now outdated and I don’t fancy being covered with rotten tomatoes when I wear it…those PETA folks can be vicious!

Still wearing the orange fox hat, Gill donned the light brown,almost floor-length mink. Protruding from beneath the hem of the coat were her Birken clogs and her ratty jeans — hardly the top model look. Then she turned around. I burst into hysterical laughter. “OMG, you look like David Bowie from behind!” And it was true — the hat looked like a bad rocker wig, cut exactly like Bowie’s or Rod Stewart’s hair.

Gill became so attached to the hat she has decided to take it back to England with her — to wear in the office. I know. When I pointed out that she should wear it outside for the warmth and protection of her delicate ears, she piped up, “Can’t…at least certainly not in London. I’d be mugged for sure!” Possibly, but I prefer to think more realistically. She might attract the attention of the little men with the nets and find herself locked up as a nutter…

But to placate her, we decided to walk around the neighborhood — she in the fox hat, tweed coat and Birken clogs (in the foot of snow on the ground), me looking, well, splendid, in the turkey toque she gave me for Christmas, the fat fabric ‘drumsticks’ keeping my ears toasty. We looked like escaped inmates looking for the asylum — but what fun it was!

But despite our expectations that we would attract attention, nobody said a word or even acknowledged our wacky attire. Perhaps they were afraid to — maybe thinking that people would in some way assume  that they were in cahoots or that some of our crazy would stick to them. We, however, had a delightful day of playing dress-up. And the veil/tutu still has Groucho’s name on it for the wedding.