This morning, I participated in a very strange ritual at my house. My husband came up to me, placed my hand over my heart, then covered his heart with one hand while holding the above shoes in the other. Solemnly, he intoned, “Dear Lord, we are here to pay tribute to these faithful shoes, which have been with me for so many years.”
I wish I could tell you that I made this up, but I didn’t. I wish I could tell you that I’ve never participated in a ceremony like this, but I can’t. In my house, when my husband throws away clothes of any kind, it is a state event bigger than a visit from the Queen. To paraphrase the great Augustus McCray from Lonesome Dove, Roy is “not one to give up on a garment, just ’cause it’s got a little age on it.”
I included a picture of the shoes in question (and yes, those are the ones) because it would be impossible to describe just how bad they had to get before he would throw them away. In fact, his son-in-law had to point out that it is possible that some of his back issues might stem from the fact that these shoes have the outsides of the sole worn completely away, forcing him to walk like a cowboy with a chaps rash!
Now, I understand the desire to not waste clothing. I, myself, have two dresses that have (one or the other) appeared at every wedding, funeral and graduation for the last several years. But I am completely outdone by my husband when it comes to clinging to clothing. This man has garments which pre-date our marriage and that, my friends, was some years ago!
His favorite everyday jacket is a so-called “ski” jacket–he doesn’t ski–that he bought while still in college. The colors have faded from what I assume was a vibrant red and blue to a washed out orange and aqua blend. In addition, so much of the shoulder seams have broken out that it looks like he’s wearing fringe down his arms. But, any suggestion I have made that perhaps it’s time to put that jacket out to a well-deserved retirement, he points out that the zipper still works and the holes in the pockets are not too big!
I admit that I have resorted to criminal behavior on occasion. He had a pair of khaki trousers that were on the knife edge of developing holes in both pockets from his wallet and comb. When I, containing my glee as best I could, pointed out that it was time to get rid of those khakis, he looked at the pockets and said, “Maybe Mom could make new ones.” Now, his mother is a fine seamstress, but I have no doubt she has mended things for him that she privately thought deserved a trip to the rag bag.
But, back to my criminal behavior; when he threatened to force his mother to resuscitate those pants, I admit, I panicked a little and lost my head. The next day, when the sorry-looking pants came through the wash, I may have hooked my fingers in the pockets and ripped them up. Don’t let this information out, however, because I blamed it on the washing machine–it likes to eat perfectly good khakis, you know!
It is just possible that I may have made certain garments “disappear” in the past. If he wears a shirt until I can hold it up and see through it, I figure it’s time for it to take a trip to garbage happy land. I can usually not use his old t-shirts for dust rags because there is not enough of them left and there are socks which should be mercifully dealt with, using the “kerosene and a lit match” approach.
Now, in spite of all my complaints, he always looks well-dressed and appropriate when he is planning to leave the house, but some of the squirrels and rabbits who have seen him walking around in the yard have been so traumatized that they won’t come back. (I realize this is probably a good thing). In the meantime, I will continue to monitor the clothes, do my best to make the old stuff disappear, and yes, continue to participate in ceremonies like the one this morning!