Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just Too Cool for Words

It was back in the long forgotten days of long hair and disco music, the age of Farrah and the Duke boys and the Bee Gees. I was in high school and my older brother was in college studying for a semester in England. Mom noticed in the paper that Woolco, that synonym for style and sophistication, was having a big sale on polyester leisure suits for men. Big news indeed. So, off to the store we went scoring for me a big-lapel, flare-leg leisure suit in kind of a rusty, orange color, complete with a cool, silky shirt with a huge collar that actually matched the suit. And, no, we were not drinking - stone cold sober.

Back home a little later, Dad was admiring the suit and especially the $49.95 price, when he had a very practical thought. We should get one of those for Jerry, my brother in England. My mom asked the obvious question. "How are we going to do that, Melvin?" But Dad was way ahead of her. "Drew, go in there and try on Jerry's suit. His old brown one is still in the closet."

"C'mon, Dad," I protested. "You know I can't wear Jerry's clothes." (Jerry, 5'- 8", 125 pounds, me, 6'- 1", 190 pounds) But Dad had it all figured out. "Just put it on." Shaking my head I went in the other room and tried to put on my brother's old suit. I walked out to the family room holding the pants up with one hand since they wouldn't fasten and feeling like Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies. Trying to stifle his laughter, Dad just smiled and said, "Now, remember how that fits."

Dad and I walked into Woolco (Mom decided to stay home for some reason.) and headed straight for the rack of leisure suits. A young gentleman offered his help and was sorting through the 42 Longs, when Dad grabbed a green 36 Regular and said, "Here, put this on." The salesclerk started to protest, but my dad was a distinguished looking man in a real suit and tie, so he bit his tongue while I tried on the suit. I stepped out of the changing room rather sheepishly and stood in front of one those three panel mirrors. I was holding my unfastened pants up as best I could with my arms and legs hanging out and a good five inches keeping me from buttoning the jacket. It was comical and the clerk started snickering in spite of himself.

But Dad looked up with a straight face, looked me over from head to toe, and said to the chagrined salesclerk, "That's it. We'll take it."

"You what?" I couldn't stop laughing as I retreated and put my own clothes back on. Dad never said a word to the clerk, never gave any explanation for our ridiculous purchase. And guess what? About a month later Jerry came home from overseas and his snazzy new leisure suit fit him perfectly, a job well done.

God, forgive us for everything we did and everything we wore in the 1970's.

5 comments:

Jerry said...

Some things are best forgotten!!

Drew Hill said...

Jerry- Where's the gratitude, brother? And what are you trying to forget - that you used to wear a green leisure suit or that you used to weigh 125 pounds? Those were the days.

Sue Reynolds said...

Drew, I laughed all the way through this one, but I really lost it when I read your reply to Jerry. Great fun!

Shane Vander Hart said...

Drew,

This post really deserved a picture to go with it :).

Drew Hill said...

Sue- Glad you enjoyed one of our favorite family stories. Don't worry about Jerry. He gives as much as he takes.

Shane- Actually, I am very grateful that no one had a camera on that fateful day at Woolco, but come to think of it, a video tape might have won the big money!