Staying in the closet

Our parish (St. Aidan’s) is having a rummage sale. I figured this was the time to get rid of some old clothes. My clothes closet is full of stuff I seldom wear. So I went at it the other day, making a pile of “discards” and a pile of “keeps.” The first thing I discarded was a green jacket like they award the winning golfers at Augusta. I haven’t worn mine in nine years. But as I contemplated it, I remembered that it was presented to me at a victory party at the Ranier Club in Seattle celebrating the end of a very successful statewide fund-raising campaign. My chairman on that campaign was an ardent golfer but not much of a fundraiser and he so appreciated my professional supervision that he presented me with the green jacket, so revered in the golf world. I tried it on the other day and was surprised at how good it still looks after 30 years. I put it in my “keep” pile.

A pair of aging gabardine slacks I decided to keep because they go well with the green jacket. Then there is that old stretchy sweater I put in my discard pile when I remembered I wore that the cold winter night back in Pennsylvania when my first child was born. He is now 54. But that sweater has been with me on ski trips and camping trips and it still has a lot of warm memories, no pun intended. Slacks and sweater I shall keep.

I have one dark suit and I can’t remember when I bought it. It carries the Brooks Brothers label. If it was a recent purchase, I would say Walmart. It wears like iron. I only wear it for funerals, but it is getting more and more use these days as at age 84, the funeral invitations proliferate. I really need that suit. It is in the “keep” pile.

I have many shirts. Some are too good for a rummage sale, and some Hawaiian shirts that have been given to me are so horrible that I cannot in good conscience wish them on someone else. I will not wear them and I will not inflict them on the homeless or the godless.

I have a collection of 32 hats. As I went through them, I realized that all have been obtained on some cruise or distant land travel, from Machu Pichu to an African safari, and they mean so much to me but appear as just old hats to strangers. The “keep” pile.

Then I came across that 12-year-old T-shirt with the Greek writing in gold letters across the chest. I got it on a small Greek island but never knew what it said until recently. I took it to Taverna Tony one afternoon but the girl there said it was classical Greek and she could not interpret it. So I asked Professor Glenn Webb of Pepperdine if he could help me. He is a specialist in Japanese but he has friends in high places in the Greek department. It turns out that gold inscription is nothing less than the opening lines of Homer’s “Odyssey.” This is a classical T-shirt and I cannot part with it. By now, Paul elder must hate me. I deserve it.

To make a long story short, I have decided there is nothing I can do without. I’ll go to the sale, however, as I might find something I can use. But may I, at this time, warn everyone. At one St. Aidan’s rummage sale, I was helping out as a volunteer, got overheated, and hung my new sport jacket on a wall hook. I was just in time, an hour later, to rescue it from a customer’s firm grasp.

Bill Dowey

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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