WARNING: Today’s gratitude rant might get a little sentimental.
Y’see, I wore a baggy wool shirt today…
And when I say “baggy”, I mean it was at least 4 or 5 sizes too big.
And when I say “wool”, I mean 100% wool, in all of its rough and itchy glory.
And with its bright red-and-blue plaid pattern, I don’t think anyone would accuse me of being overly “stylish” while wearing it.
Of course, it would be a pretty rare occasion, indeed, for ANY of my clothing choices to be considered stylish…
So why am I so grateful for baggy wool shirts?
Well, for one thing, they’re flippin’ warm — come rain, sleet, or hail. But even more importantly, I inherited this particular shirt (and a handful of other, equally baggy, equally itchy, and equally outdated wool shirts) from my Grandpa LaRue.
He passed away a few years ago, and yet every time I wear one of his old shirts (which actually ends up being about once or twice a week, this time of year), I can’t help but think of him.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see him working in his little woodshop, hunched over his carpeted workbench, working on some little doo-dad or knick-knack.
In my mind’s nose, I can still smell the sharp scent of sawdust and Camel cigarettes.
And for some reason, gruff phrases like “hell, it don’t matter” and “tougher than boiled owl sh*t” seem to echo in my ears.
Vivid memories come flooding back into my mind of quiet summer evenings spent sitting together in worn out, jerry-rigged folding chairs. For years I mowed my grandparents’ lawn, and each week after the mowing was finished, my Grandma, my Grandpa, and I would sit in their driveway — sometimes for hours at a time, just watching the world go by.
Me and Grandpa didn’t talk much though. Neither of us was too fond of talking. Besides, Grandma did enough of it for the both of us.
Instead, we’d just sit there sipping on cans of Welch’s Grape Juice or Low-Sodium V8.
It’s funny — wearing this old wool shirt, the memories are so clear I swear I can almost taste that nasty V8 again…
Just thinking about it makes me smile.
Sure, there’s a bit of sadness that comes with these memories. I still miss my Grandpa a bunch. But there’s also a whole lot of fondness and joy and appreciation that comes with them too.
I’m so thankful for the rich family heritage I have to look back on — and especially grateful for baggy wool shirts!