I've had a silly, coughing-all-night cold for a few days now, so I'm not getting my full quota of sleep. Yesterday morning I was having chills, and put my old Army sweatshirt on.
"Nice hoodie, Grandma," Monica commented.
"Thanks, Monica. This thing is twenty years old. See how the lettering is all messed up?" And that got me thinking about the history of the shirt.
Am I the only person who gets sentimental about some old article of clothing? No other sweatshirt feels quite as comfy as this one, and I just can't give it up. I've worn it when I worked in the unheated apple shed at the orchard. I wore it to the barn under my coveralls, when I milked cows. And when I was walking over three miles a day every day, this is the shirt that best kept me warm.
What am I doing with a shirt with such grim sayings on it, you ask? (or maybe you didn't ask, but if you keep reading, you're going to find out.)
My son went to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training in 1985, at the age of eighteen. Our relationship had been a bit stormy just prior to his leaving, as is common with teenagers and their parents. But fences were pretty much mended when he left, and I took a great deal of pride in the fact that he was serving our country. I even wrote a song about him, at the time, expressing my pride.
He was wearing this shirt on his first visit home from basic training, and for some reason, I loved it at first sight. He had some deep blue sweat pants that he wore with it. Somehow I just thought the whole outfit was the neatest thing I'd ever seen.
I don't know if I asked him for the clothes outright, or if I simply hinted so much that he gave them to me. Maybe he remembers.
But when he left, I had the sweats. The pants long ago wore out, but the "hoodie", as Monica calls it, seems indestructable. By the time I die, the lettering will probably be undecipherable, but the shirt, I believe, will last as long as I do.
Maybe it's just a reminder of the pride I had in my son, in 1985.
Here's one verse, and the chorus, of the song I wrote to my son back then:
There's a rough and rocky road ahead, but I know you'll make it through.
Remember, anywhere you go, your mama prays for you.
Though we've had our little problems, I have loved you through them all,
And it's good to see my only son grown up, and standing tall.
To the Pride of '67, my bouncing, baby son.
I can't believe the way you've grown,
Or the distance you have come.
The center of my universe, and Daddy's "little man",
Now the pride of '67 goes to work for Uncle Sam.
Now, to all my friends who say, "I wouldn't have anything to journal about," if I can do entries about an article of clothing, anyone can write about anything!