Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If you have ever wondered where those single socks go that never seem to come back out of the washer or dryer and you are sure you put them in there (after all, you know your socks, right?). Well, rest easy.  They are all in my sock drawer.  Until about an hour ago.
I have taken the liberty of disposing of a number of pairs of socks today - if I find any of yours, they will on Ebay shortly.  I've been retired now  for two and half years and have discovered that, aside from two weddings and one funeral, I do not need 18 pairs of dark colored socks that can reach halfway to my knee.  I took a whiff of some of them. They had a slightly dusky odor, the smell of the streets of Albany, New York.  They picked up the scent as I walked from my car to work, and then back to my car, with maybe a stroll at lunch. Dead cigarettes, black gum cemented to the sidewalks, weeds and car exhaust.  Nope. Long gone.

I've kept a few business oldie shirts and ties (including Mickey Mouse and Jerry Garcia versions) for the wedding and funeral days, plus slacks so that I can quickly respond when Jackie asks me "Oh, you're wearing that?" when a more formal outing has been announced.  Otherwise for the last 30 months it's been t-shirts-sweatshirts-shorts-or jeans in some combination with ball cap that corresponds with team logos.  One pair of boots for winter shlogging, and "nice shoes" for the more formal days (see above question). Jackets for colder days, hoodies on others. There is Tom's fashion sense.  Oh, and sneakers. Not no athletic shoes, running shoes, or trainers, nothing endorsed by any athlete.  If they fit, they're fine.

Thoreau was right: Simplify.  And when your lesion filled brain is making everything just a little harder, the less you have to concern yourself with on the outside the better.

Clothes get donated to the Salvation Army and the odd bins you see all over that ask for clothes and shoes which are sent off to who knows where by unknown people who may or may not be making profits on it. The local media checks on this stuff on slow days.  I just hope that somewhere some child in a Third or Fourth World country is wearing my Saturday Night Fever t-shirt with the upside down logo.

Stuff, like people, TV shows, and poorly maintained cars come and go in your life all the time. Some things do stay, like my wife, some friends, and autoimmune diseases.  I treasure them (not the diseases per se yet they remind me time is short), but there are pieces of clothing I have that I shall try my darndest never to part with:

My Mets Jacket from 1986.


My Jean Jacket from High School with the Apollo 13 logo I sewed on it, and this was long before any Tom Hanks movie.


This is the actual Mets uniform worn by a pitcher named Tom Martin who played for the Mets in 2001. The best time with this was standing on the place where the pitching mound was in Shea Stadium and throwing a fastball to my nephew catching behind home plate. OK, it may have bounced and rolled to him, but it got there.  The other Tom M is long retired and involved in business with present day big leaguers.
But as nice as that is, nothing compares with this:
My sister Barb made this jersey for me. It's just a grey jersey but she asked me once about the history of baseball and she knew I was a Mets fan, of course, but I did say I always liked the Washington Senators.  This was in the mid 70's when both Washington teams had absconded for more lucrative areas.  No professional baseball for the Washington until the former Expos of Montreal moved there last decade. The capital region has a long history of baseball, the main one being the Albany Senators.  We've got an A-ball franchise of the Astros here now, and their season starts this Sunday.  So anyway, Barb took the time to make this and give it to me, and I treasure it even though it's not really all that comfy to wear.  Alas, I can not get in my Star Trek uniform, either, having gone the route of William Shatner.
The baseball cap is an actual Senators cap from the late 1960s.  The present day Washington Nationals have a cap with the same design, but this is the real thing bought at the store across from Fenway in 1977, along with a Senators logo plaque that the guy was kind enough to rip off the wall for me.  The plaque has a hole in it where the nail was pulled out.  Still hangs in my den, the plaque does, not the nail.
Sometimes on your journey, the inanimate objects that travel with you tell more about you than most people can say.  These help mine.  Think of what you have or no longer have and what they mean do you.  Recently I built a model of the Frankenstein Monster, the same one I had made during the first Nixon administration but had lost to time and the foolish thought of what mattered and didn't.
The monster is back, along with other nicer memories than I can no longer place on my body, but fits fine on my soul. And the monster on the outside can't hurt me.


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