Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The wedding suit

It was late Saturday afternoon when I finally finished my errands and got back home. I had been all over town, to the grocery store, to Hop On produce market off Marine Drive, the garden centre, and several furniture stores looking for bar stools. It was hot. I quickly changed into gardening clothes, and looked forward to a peaceful couple of hours planting, pruning, watering and weeding.

“Hey Mom,” my son called out just as I began deadheading the marigolds. “Did you hem my pants yet?”

Shit. I had promised him I would hem the pants on his suit, because he had to go to a wedding the next day. I said farewell to the marigolds and went back inside.

“Oh and Mom, I need new shoes to wear, I only have white runners.”

“What happened to your old black shoes you wore when you worked at Safeway?”

“I lost one.”

How does someone lose one shoe? I’m not sure I want to know. So I changed out of my gardening clothes and we went out to buy shoes. Then I got down to the business of hemming.

The suit, the only one my son owns, was a hand-me-down from his dad. My son and his dad are about the same height, but my son wears his pants slung way low, held up only by some invisible force field. Thus the need for hemming. The first time my son wore the suit was at his dad’s wedding two years ago, where his grandma stapled up the hem of the pants. Fortunately the suit is kind of silvery grey, so the staples were not too obvious. But this time he would have a proper hem. If they were ordinary pants, I would have told him to hem them himself, he knows how to use the sewing machine. But this lovely old hand tailored wool suit needs a hand sewn invisible hem, way beyond his domestic skills.

If I do say so, my kid looked very handsome as he went off to a cousin’s wedding the next day, in grey pinstriped suit, crisp white shirt, jaunty maroon handkerchief in his jacket pocket, and shiny new shoes.

I wonder if my son’s father realizes the suit, the one he gave our son to wear at his second wedding, is the one he wore when he married me. 23 years ago.


Dumdad said...

One wedding suit, many tales.

Alda said...

Why buy two suits when one will do? Especially since it's probably something he puts on maybe once a year - if he's like most 20-year-olds.

You look beautiful on your wedding picture, btw.

Ian Lidster said...

How very easy on the eyes you are in that wedding photo.
As for the missing shoe. Well, you know how you can drive along the highway and see a lone shoe at the side of the road? Well, that just may be where his other shoe is -- out there on the highway.
I, on the other hand, have a fine pair of expensive shoes that I have worn to two weddings -- both weddings being my own. I don't wear them much in between so they are in superlative shape. Actually, if I'd known, your son could have borrowed them. They are, after all, 'wedding' shoes.

Big Brother said...

Waste not want not, although it is rather ironic that the son wore the same suit for his dad's second wedding that his dad wore for his first. Beautiful bride in the wedding picture by the way. ;o)

Voyager said...

DD, alda, Ian, & BB,
Oh my goodness, I wasn't fishing for compliments, but thank you. The photo is 23 years old, I don't look like that any more!

Ian, I expect the new shoes will not get much more wear. Maybe at his own wedding? Oh my God what am I saying!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You are so lovely!

This is an amazing story, love the ending.

Life is really strange, and the fact that some of us live many lives within the span of one is even stranger.

It sounds as if you got a wonderful son out of that marriage.

I lost a single shoe while stealing street signs on the way home from a party when I was 19. It caused quite an uproar at my house, and my three partners in crime came to testify for me, to no avail. I didn't realize until many years later what my parents must have been thinking about how I managed to lose one shoe.

jmb said...

Great post Voyager. You can't help laughing now that it's over I'm sure. Amazing how men's suits hold up stylewise.
You were a lovely bride indeed.

Diana said...

How amazingly fabulous.

Funny, but the only hem I know how to sew is by hand. Never learned to use a machine and, as a consequence, the only things I've ever sewed are buttons, hems and Barbie clothes.

Jocelyn said...

Good god. I love this--the resonance and tracking of the suit. Wonderful!

(note to self: deadhead marigolds tomorrow)

Voyager said...

hisf, Life is indeed strange. And yes, we got a wonderful kid out of it. And it's been about 17 years since my son's dad and I split, so any divorce-related unpleasantness is long over, and we are friends.
Actually I imagine my son lost one shoe doing something similar to your escapade.

jmb, I think all brides are lovely. I like to walk in Queen Elizabeth Park on a Saturday afternoon and watch all the wedding parties having photos done.

Diana, I have not done much sewing in the last few years, but I used to love it. In fact I made the wedding dress in the photo. Who has time anymore?

jocelyn, The suit has travelled in an interesting circle for sure. My marigolds are still untended.


Ruth L.~ said...

Stories like this fascinate me. It's so simple, so easy to identify with, and yet so poignant and thought provoking.

Does your son know the history behind the suit? He will now if he reads your blog. Great story.

Voyager said...

Hi Ruth from the Emerald Isle, Yes my son knows the suit's history, he thinks it is cool.

CS said...

Life has such a funny way of circling back around. That wedding photo of you is compelling - you look very solemn. (Beautiful, but solemn.)

Rozanne said...

So 23 years can pass and a man's suit doesn't go out of style. But can we women get away with that?

People constantly lose just one shoe. In fact, a friend of mine entered a play-writing competition in which the theme was "The One Shoe Phenomenon."

Yesterday, I saw a stray hiking boot on a Portland city street. A few blocks later, I saw the other one. My theory is that they fell off the back of someone's bike.

Oh, and let me just say that I agree with everyone else--you look absolutely gorgeous in the wedding photo!

Voyager said...

cs, You know, looking back, you're right. I did look solemn. The marriage only lasted about 6 years. I wonder if, even on that DAY, I had reservations.

rozanne, Huh. I never heard of losing one shoe before. Socks, yes. But how can one not know a shoe has come one's foot? And I agree with you, it's not fair about men's suits. Can you imagine getting away with wearing a suit now you bought in 1984? Unless of course it's a Chanel. Timeless.

Judy said...

What a subtly told tale. So much said and so much remembered in just a few words. Great post.

I'm guessing that you got back to your gardening, but your mind was no longer on the flowers.

Voyager said...

WW, I didn't get back to the gardening that day, it took hours to measure, pin, cut, press and hand sew that hem. My son better pass the suit on to his son in due course. The hem will still be intact, even if the rest is falling apart!

Angela said...

Yes, a haunting picture of a truly beautiful woman. There is definitely something in your eyes. Reservation, I'm not sure, but something. Perhaps it's made more obvious because all we can see of him is his smile, but your smile and his smile don't seem to match. (Hope he doesn't read this!) ;)