The Things He Carried

The things we carry say a lot about us.  Empty out your pockets and some truths spill out.

One set of pockets that I am brought to joy upon considering are those of my father.

There was a whole line of products that men of a certain generation seemed to have purchased and used and generally made their own. My dad would reveal that first item, his classic Chapstick, when he took a moment to rest.  He would fish into one of his deep pockets, cross his legs, and grasp the small cylinder with all of his fingers.  He would apply the Chapstick while staring at me, sort of 1000 yard stare that simultaneously said “You need stroking,” (long story) and “my lips are refreshed.”

Then there are the sunglasses.  These stayed in his shirt pocket.

Flip-Up Clip-Ons

Old Guy Wardrobe: Flip-Up Clip-Ons

True, maybe some guys tried to pretend that they wore wayfarers like Tom Cruise, or Ray-Bans, like Tom Cruise.  Not my dad.  He had this pair from about 1978 to 1993.  Then, he switched to a light brown pair. Were you to mention that perhaps, flip-ons weren’t the premium choice, he would flip them back, interrupt whatever banter was still coming out of my mouth, and echo what was a mantra in our household:

Your mind is on vacation                                                                      but your mouth…is working overtime (Mose Allison)

Were it to be that you were close enough to my dad to observe the contents of his pockets, then you would also be able to behold the scent he wore.  My dad did not wear Polo or anything with the word “Homme.”  His scent was a hybrid, nonetheless.  I can still provoke a strong memory of my father when I take the green top off of a tube of  Mennen Speed Stick, Regular Scent.  Nothing else comes close.  I think it would be fair to say that there was also a bit of Irish Spring there, too..  I think they handed out Irish Spring to every new home built after World War II.

My dad always had a pen.  This is a lost talent.  It is really a shame to be caught walking around without a pen.  You are going to have to write something down.  It is an inevitability.  My dad never got caught out like that.  He sometimes wore a bic,but after law school, he caught a bug for fountain pens.


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