Dearly Beloved is making noises about finally sifting through the closets and drawers containing his too-large wardrobe. As I’ve mentioned before, it isn’t that he’s a clothes horse. He spent years working in the coldest parts of the Midwest, the steamiest parts of the south, and New York City, and since he has maintained the same size for decades, the clothes kept getting jammed into closets and drawers.
The first round of elimination will be simple: get rid of the fireside wardrobe.
If you’re picturing sweaters with suede patches on the sleeves and corduroy pants, you’re not even close. This is an assemblage of clothing he has received as gifts and never used over the years. They don’t fit, are not his style, or are just plain ugly.
He started identifying them “by the fire” clothing during the years the children were growing up. Our Christmas gift-opening ritual was to assemble a tray of cookies and fudge, hot chocolate, coffee, or spiced cider, and munch while we took turns, going in birth order, with each person opening one gift. That way we could see each present and watch the recipient’s reaction. Everyone reserved the right to ham it up or prolong their turn–shaking the box…taking time to carefully fold the paper before looking to see what was inside. It drove the youngest nuts.
Inevitably, someone would come to a clunker. More often than not, it was DB’s gift from his mother. With four sons, she prided herself on knowing each son’s style preference, favorite color, and correct size. He never had the heart to tell her no, he’s not the one who likes his sweaters tight or that he prefers button-down collared shirts. Our children knew though, so whenever he opened one of those gifts he would hold it up, look it over, and pronounce gently, “This will be good to wear by the fire.”
Not that his mother was the only contributor to the fireside wardrobe. There was the white running suit I found at such a good price that I convinced myself, “He won’t even care that it’s white.” He did. Let’s not even talk about the denim shirt I embroidered sports figures on in abundance, not wanting to leave any sport he enjoyed unrepresented.
A shirt with one sleeve longer than the other was a gift from Daughter Boo, a “find” from a clearance rack. There was also an unfortunate Hawaiian print shirt that Button-down Dad was relieved to find was too small.
Son’s gifts have sometimes had to go through the ripening factor, meaning that his gifts are often so cool or cutting edge that his dad is behind the learning curve on exactly what they are. For instance, a pair of MBT’s sat unused for a period before he started wearing them and found that they helped his plantar fasciitis. (Since DB had been quite vocal about his plantar fasciitis, the shoes turned out to be a gift to mankind. He no longer stops people on the street to talk foot pain.) The same with his iPod Shuffle. It sat for weeks, perhaps months, while he maintained he’d rather listen to the sounds of nature on walks. Now he listens to music AND nature. Ah, the simple joy of the Off touch!
Pogo gives him gifts she knows he’ll like and even that is a problem. He doesn’t wear or use them because he wants to save them. Boxes of golf balls crowd his sock drawer. He can SEE the balls there, but doesn’t want to USE them for fear of an errant shot. Golf balls to use by the fire.
Wonder what it will be this year? There is no more closet space.
Hey kids, if you want to give him a flat screen TV, he can hold the remote close to his heart. Best of all, there IS a cable outlet near the fire.