Letting go

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 9:15am

One morning a few weeks ago at the docks, there was a draft on the back of my left leg. It felt damp. Had I sat in water? I pondered this while checking in a car for the eleven o’clock ferry. The draft was a result of a rip in my pants in an embarrassing place ― not acceptable. Moreover, for a geezer such as myself it is not wise to allow this to be seen — by anyone. (Stuff like this can get out of hand at the docks ― the guys could tear you apart with invective.) Most importantly, a geezer must maintain certain standards of decorum. A geezer must adhere to specific protocols. Something had to be done ― fast. I headed straight for the freight shed. Bingo! I found some duct tape and proceeded to the head to put a band aid on this expanding, yawning gap that was just below my gluteus maximus.

This duct tape fix created a seamless look in my careworn trousers; however, the big question now was what to do with said pants; to sew or not to sew ― or chuck them ― was the question. This decision did not come easy. Why you may ask? It’s simple, it’s because I liked the pants. My fondness was trumping the tossing of said pants, which had served me so well over the past five years.

It was a warm day on Nov. 2, so I put on some shorts that were in my locker in the garage. Then, I went to show my co-worker Sal and the other guys my handiwork. “Clean fix?” I asked Sal.

“So that’s how the duct tape ended up in the head,” said co-worker Matt Potter, as he entered the freight office and heard the discussion.

“Indeed, Joe, I must say that is a very clean fix,” said Sal.

The acid test was then performed. I peeled off the duct tape, and tested the tensile strength of the fabric. The rip was severe. The pants had to go. (I could hear my wife agreeing. The woman has her limits.) So I spun them into a ball and sky-hooked them into the trash can. Sal looked at me after the toss and said, “Joe, I wish I had the gusto to do what you just did. You made it look so easy. For the life of me, I don’t know how you did that.” Sal was gobsmacked by my actions. “It wasn’t always that easy, Sal, but we need to be patient when learning to do this kind of thing,” I said.

“Roger that, “said Sal.

In 1972, there was a tragically hip clothing store on Thayer Street up on Providence’s East Side. It was an outdoors kind of deal that sold sporty kinds of clothes ― active wear. I bought a pair of khaki shorts with a cargo pocket that had a zipper. I wanted them for sailing and general hacking around. The shorts served me well for over 25 years. They were worn out and beat on to perfection ― comfortable. When they were new they looked respectable and could easily be worn on a date. As the years rolled along the stitching needed attention ― a button here a button there. So I maintained said shorts on an as needed basis. Between sailing, biking, and surfing, the soft and pliable shorts became an important part of my wardrobe. The years ticked by.

When I finally had to let go of this personable pair of khaki shorts, they had suffered some indignities. They had been sewn in numerous places: buttons, seams, pockets and belt loops―the zipper. They traveled with me to Daytona Beach and were worn during surf sessions. They had traveled some hard road since they were purchased from the hip clothier. The final indignity came one sunny day while sailing in Narragansett Bay. The shorts started to literally fall off my body while moving about my boat. Duct tape was applied along with fishing line to stave off the inevitable dishevelment and disintegration. It was time. I peeled them off and with sadness and much trepidation committed them to the deep. Sigh.

As I told this tale to the guys, Sal looked on reverently. He knew that “letting go,” was indeed hard, and that I did not take such things lightly. He knew that my casual “sky hook” shot was hard won from years of experience. Sal is currently in the midst of a similar conflict with a personable pair of familiar pants. I know what the young man is going through ― “Be patient, grasshopper,” I thought.

Now, I want you to close your eyes, and slowly and judiciously conjure up that piece of clothing that you simply won’t even consider “letting go” of. We all share this commonality. We drink from the same reservoir. Finally, while you are weighing all of your options before “letting go” of this precious piece of clothing, you must trust that you will know it is time. Then go buy yourself something and celebrate a new beginning, as it’s getting to be that time of year. How is that for a seamless segue into a new beginning?

Haps the New Year from the Ferry Dock Scribbler!