I never had a job that required a suit, and I suppose that's the way it is with most folks. The suit was a requirement only for those times in life that you either witness two people getting married or join with a family who has lost a loved one. Anymore, it isn't required for much else, and frankly, may not really be needed on the times I mentioned above. People have become so casual in their apparel that the times have been lost when a suit was de rigueur fashion for church, business meetings, and even when flying on a plane. By the way, I have never before in my life used de rigueur in writing or speaking. I'm so proud of myself.
Anyway, I attended a wedding a few weeks ago (March 16th) and brought out the suit from cold (or hot, depending on your locale) storage. It turned out to be casual, and warm, so I didn't need it after all.
When I returned to Shawshank to put it back in storage, wondering if I'd ever need it again down here, I combed through the pockets for no particular reason.
The first item, tucked into a front side pocket was this pamphlet from a funeral I attended in 2002. Luther Henson was my next door neighbor in G-Burg. Luther was the biggest sportsman I ever knew. He fished, hunted turtle, quail, ducks, and just about anything that was in season. And even then I'm not sure he didn't cheat a little. Wonderful man, and was missed in the neighborhood immensely. He went fishing one warm January day with his little grandson and keeled over with a heart attack. Poor Damien. His ashes were scattered along the Illinois River, his favorite place to fish. Strangely, and unfortunately his wife, Bonnie, would succumb from cancer a scant year-and-a-half later.
In the inside breast pocket was this funeral announcement (are they called that?) from 2007. Bill Seaton was one of he neighborhood kids we played with in Seaton growing up. Bill, Barb and Terry lived across the football field back yard on the other side of the block. In a recent Flashback Friday, Barb, Bill's sister, was the receiver of a smooch.
Bill used to climb the tree in our side yard and yell "Bekee" or "Skiboo", two words without meaning to the rest of us. When Doris, his mother would yell out their front door telling him to come home, he'd yell in his kid like baritone, "Nooooo", which delighted the rest of us. Imagine, disobeying your parents! Bill was a character and his death seemed shocking to us, since he was so young, but apparently had some health issues. He lived in Kansas City and we never saw him much, but one of lives ironies is that he was home visiting shortly before this death. He called me up and wanted to meet at a local bar in G-Burg since he had a longish wait for the train that would take him home. So we sat in Seminary Street Pub one Sunday afternoon waiting for the train, drinking beer and cracking jokes. He would be dead in 3 weeks.
And finally, also in the breast pocket was this marriage flier from December 29, 2001 at 4:00 pm. Out of respect for the divorced couple I am keeping it closed; alas, it failed, but we all had a good time at the reception.
To paraphrase an old vaudeville quip, "Dying is easy, it's marriage that's hard." The kids who tried to make a go of it couldn't. Some marriages are doomed to start, some fester over decades. Some take off well and just get better and more loving with each passing week. Like Luther and Bill unexpectedly dying on us, you just never know.
And so the suit has been put back in the protective bag, awaiting its next foray into sunlight. Will it be to celebrate or to mourn? A suit is a measure of time, of people's passing, a witness of young love. We get a new one when we gain weight, or lose it. It, in my case, had not been worn in 7 years, but it's always there, waiting for life's next joy or life's next trial.