This has been a long cold, winter. So, recently I was rummaging through the hope chest in search of a sweater. I reached down toward the bottom and pulled out an old favorite. There is a sense of comfort with an old sweater, it goes beyond the warmth of the material; there is a familiarity, a sense of assurance that comes from a sweater that has been with you through both good and bad times.
I put the sweater on, glanced in the mirror and it occurred to me that this was not an old sweater in the sense that it has been around a few years. No, this was a very old sweater in the sense that its best days were behind it and it had been decades since it was in style. It had been in style once, unfortunately, that was when “The Cosby Show” was in its prime. I’ve come across pictures of me wearing this sweater where I am surrounded by three small, happy boys. The youngest of those small boys is now twenty-one years old.
It seems like clothes as much as anything make me feel old. Some clothes make me feel old because I have had them long enough to wear them out, ties for example. It never occurred to me that I could actually wear a tie out until one day I noticed the lining starting to show through the worn out threads on the edges of the tie. Other clothes make me feel old because I see pictures of me from the past and the clothes I am wearing just look silly. Bell bottoms, elephant legs and ironed on decal T-shirts fall into this category.
Old clothes can make me feel old and it is just not fair. This old black sweater still fits, mostly and it still looks like it did when it was new, mostly. On the other hand since the day this sweater was in style, my wrinkles have furrowed a bit, my hair has grayed a bit and my waist has thickened a bit. As a final test, I asked my wife her opinion of this sweater. She looked at me and said, “Looks a bit old and tired.” I asked, “Me or the sweater?” She said, “Uh-huh.”
I am not sure what I can do about looking old and tired, but looks like my favorite sweater is the latest candidate for the big spring garage sale.