(prompt: ‘confusion’ 31 July 2020)
I can never look at trendsetters’ holey-moley jeans without thinking of my Grandpa.
How many pairs did he go through in all his farming years? The holes of all were the result of his sheer hard work. Carting countless bales of hay from paddock to shed each year—then later, back out to the paddocks again to feed the dairy ‘girls’—always meant the fronts of the thighs were the earliest target; the first to show wear.
It began slowly with the denim paling slightly, then a whole lot, until finally the denim was almost white and paper thin. This inevitable wear never went far enough to see the tiniest glimpses of skin… Gran made sure of that.
“Tch, tch, tch,” she’d say with a deep sigh. “MORE sewing to be done! Just when I caught up on darning all the socks!” And she’d put the newest offenders in the mending basket with all the bits and pieces of material painstakingly gathered to form those eternal ‘patches on patches’. No confusion or doubt in her dear old mind that each and every piece would find its new/old home. Gran’s amazing knack of finding a useful part of the most worn garment and reinventing it came from the know-how of many generations before her time, filtering through to show the value of recycling… way before its importance was recognised.
The back pockets of jeans that had otherwise finally ‘given up the ghost’ (usually many years down the track) were popular. Gran loved to make a joke about the lack of wear on those wallet holders, due to the matching lack of cash in their lives for SO long.
I chuckle, imagining Gran’s horror at ripped jeans being fashion statements. “Oh my! I wouldn’t let your Grandpa milk cows in rags like that! Here! Give them to me! I’ll fix them up for you.” And with raised eyebrows, “What on earth have you been up to? Work??”
And Grandpa? He’d push his ever-present cap to the back of his head and scratch the white strip of his forehead that never saw sunlight. Have to chuckle as I remember the only time we saw that tender piece of flesh would be at mealtimes, because—
“I will NOT tolerate hats on heads at MY dinner table,” Gran would say in her sternest voice.
And Grandpa would not be able to resist saying to any member of the trendily tatty-type, “Now listen my girl. You MUST get yourself a better paying job. It’s a crying shame! A blimmin’ disgrace — when you can’t even afford a decent pair of pants!” and he’d sigh heavily as he shook his grizzled old head and say, “Give ’em over to Gran, love. She’ll fix them up for you.”