A lot of shirts

When I was growing up, our camp had sweatshirts. My parents purchased one for me and I wore it for several years until I outgrew it or it was worn out. I don’t remember which it was. After I graduated from seminary, I started to receive t-shirts from various events. Regional and National Youth Events all had t-shirts with their logos on them. I attended a couple of National Youth Events that had multiple colors of shirts designating different roles (participant, presenter, planning team). I obtained multiple shirts to reflect multiple roles. The church camps I attended began to have special shirts for specific camps and events. Some started putting dates on t-shirts to create a desire for a new shirt each year. The pile of t-shirts began to grow. By the time I moved to South Dakota, I had more t-shirts than would fit into a single drawer in my dresser.

I talked about having a quilt made out of t-shirts, but decided against it when I realized that I had too many shirts for that project. Either the quilt would be enormous or I would have to have multiple quilts and would probably end up with more quilts than I need. I learned that I could let go of some of my shirts and began allowing them to be donated.

I give away shirts on a fairly regular basis, but they still seem to collect in my drawers and closet. This Saturday is the Front Porch Coalition’s Suicide Awareness walk. I will walk as I have in the previous 14 years. I have a t-shirt from every year. I frequently wear Front Porch Coalition t-shirts on my day off to promote the organization and help raise awareness of suicide and its effects. The shirts are pretty good conversation starters.

I don’t wear logo clothing to work, but most of the rest of the time, I wear shirts and jackets with various logos on them. I grew up wearing shirts and jackets that promoted my father’s business. It seemed as if most of our jackets had logos on them, mostly for John Deere, and a few for Purina Chow. It is amusing to me that John Deere logo clothing has gotten so popular these days that it is sold in stores and I see people of all ages wearing it. I don’t have my old source of free jackets and shirts, but my son still occasionally wears a windbreaker that must be more than 40 years old - much older than he. I’ve got a couple of caps that date back to the days when my father was in the business. I used to joke that I was 25 years old before I owned a jacket that didn’t have John Deere on it. As you might imagine all of our jackets were either green or yellow. I remember distinctly the pretty light blue jacket that I got on a church rummage sale. It was great.

I took a quick look through my closet last night. Mind you, my closet has no t-shirts. Those are folded in drawers (yes multiple). I have jackets and polo shirts from several different organizations. As a member of the LOSS team I have shirts and a jacket with our logo that I wear when I go out on a call. I have casual shirts with the logo of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office on them. I also have a uniform that I wear for formal occasions when representing the Sheriff. I have shirts with the logo for Pennington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team, for which I serve as chaplain.

It appears that although I am not a wealthy person, I certainly will never have to worry about what to eat or what to wear. I’ve certainly got more clothing than I am capable of wearing out in my lifetime. Some of those items of clothing, like the Sheriff’s Office uniform, don’t belong to me and will be turned in when I move on to other adventures in my life. Other items of clothing, such as the LOSS team or informal Sheriff’s Office clothing, need to be turned in. These items shouldn’t show up in thrift shops or on the rummage sale. Only those authorized to do so should wear those logos.

Our society uses clothing to establish identity, to promote products, to build brand names and for a whole host of different purposes. We are used to wearing clothing with logos. Even expensive items that we purchase sport advertisements for companies. The Nike swoosh, the Hurley stylized H and the Under Armor logos are all over clothing worn by a lot of young people. And Under Armor is not just underwear for those of you who don’t know. Hurley is owned by Nike, whose swoosh isn’t the same as New Balance. If you are into brands you have to know all of this stuff. I don’t have clothing with any of those brands on them because you have to pay to purchase those items and people keep giving me shirts at a rate too fast for me to wear them out which is perfectly fine because I don’t like shopping in the first place.

The challenge in my wardrobe is pants. I It used to be that virtually every clothing store had jeans sold by waist and inseam measured in inches. I knew my size and I could find jeans that fit. These days, I wear a boys size 16 Husky in jeans. I used to wear adult sizes, and I haven’t gotten smaller, but the company has revised its sizing. And local stores rarely have my size. I end up ordering them from the Internet. What is more the jeans don’t last me as long as they did when I was a kid and I think I was harder on jeans when I was a kid. We used to get new jeans for Rodeo every summer and then when the next summer rolled around, we’d have the knees out of them and made cutoffs out of them. I can’t get a pair of jeans to last a year anymore and they won’t work for cutoffs because the knees aren’t the only place holes develop. I get holes in pockets, and all sorts of other places.

It makes me wonder why the shirts seem to last so long. I have no shortage of shirts.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!