Small Wonders:

The memories clothes hold

January 02, 2010|By Patrick Caneday

Forget your old acquaintances, as the song goes, and pay them no mind.

Or at least that’s what I thought “Auld Lang Syne” meant when I was in the fourth grade. When I announced this opinion on the “should auld acquaintance be forgot” line to the class during a lesson about the song, my teacher straightened me out with a confused look and quickly moved on to the smarter, more musically gifted children in class. The first time, but oddly not the last, that I would be put in my place by a woman playing the autoharp.

This episode came to mind the other day.

I was in the meditative zone that comes with manual labor; the reflective mood that overtakes you when you’re gardening or building a birdhouse. As I like to do during the “lost week” between Christmas and New Year’s, I was cleaning out my closet and drawers, getting rid of a year’s worth of clothes I’ve not worn and probably never will.


Time to make room for new clothes.

Get rid of that pair of socks that rub my big toe the wrong way and the boxer shorts I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing; last year’s stocking stuffers from my mother.

I need to make room for the socks and boxers she got me this year.

There’s that pair of shoes that looked really nice when I tried them on in the store. But Shoe Pavilion is gone and apparently so is my taste in dress shoes. The 3/4 boot-patent leather-pointed toe style went out with paisley ties a few years ago. So yes, I’ll get rid of some of those ties as well.

Speaking of stores that are gone, there are a couple pairs of Dockers bought on clearance sale at Mervyn’s in their last days; one fits in the waist but is a little too short, the other is the perfect length but just a tad “snug” in the waist. No doubt they’ve shrunk. Because my chances of losing weight are as good as my chances of shrinking six inches this year, I’ll throw them both into the giveaway pile.

As I climb deeper into the closet and farther back in the drawers, I come across some of the items that reappear annually in my purge. As with so many food products in the refrigerator that are not fresh enough to eat, but not stale enough to throw out, I have some hard decisions to make.

The uniform for unemployed writers is simple: jeans, T-shirt, flannel shirt, Red Wings or jogging shoes. So the dress pants stay, but get moved to the hall closet.

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