I've finally joined the jeans generation. As seasons change, the summer shorts collection finds a hiding place till spring. From now until then, blue jeans will cover this Little bottom for a few months.
I have one nasty pair that Kaye puts out when she knows I have to work outside. They began life intact and unfaded. I have a reputation for aiding and abetting the aging of my clothes. I guess it goes to the "bull in the china shop" syndrome.
Shoes come off at the door, and the odd body shape contributes to what I refer to as "waist slippage." As I slouch around with bare feet, the natural belly jiggle causes the jeans to slip and slide downward until the belted area settles atop my generous hip bones.
This means the bottoms of the 29-inch legs begin to drag on the floor. Ten thousand steps or so later, the friction between the walking surface and the hems results in fraying. That doesn't faze me in the least, but it drives Kaye to distraction. "Pull your pants up" becomes a regular admonition. She almost always says, "Please."
I usually mumble an unmentionable retort and yank on both sides of my wide belt. Then, the whole process starts all over again. I think a clever composer could turn this into a symphony or at least a popular dance: The Lift and Slip. Perhaps it would rival the Bunny Hop.
Meanwhile, I save the newest pair of jeans for "good" and try almost beyond my ability to keep them hoisted off the floor. A few years ago, I bought several pairs of suspenders and tried them for a while. My friend Leo Connick actually gave me a pair that I might wear in public on doomsday.
I have some overalls, or "farmer's jeans," around here somewhere and planned to wear them when reading my latest children's book down at the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration. Alas, they're about four sizes too small. I guess they shrunk in the closet.
I'm happy that most of my public appearances these days are not formal occasions, and I feel comfortable showing up in my good jeans.
For almost 36 years on the radio, I wore dress pants, a white shirt and tie at work every day. Even though this chapter of my life doesn't have much more leisure, people seem to be more accepting of the jeans.
The nomenclature of men's clothes has changed since I was a child. What we call socks were called stockings in the '30s and '40s, no matter how short they were. I wore what were called hand-me-down knickers with the long stockings and used my jackknife to slice through the elastic hem bands while on my way to school. When I graduated to long pants, they were called trousers. When's the last time you heard or used that word?
Have you looked around at what women are wearing for jeans these days? My old, faded jeans with the holes and shredded bottoms would be right in style. Can you believe people spend good money for clothes that look like they've been worn for years or chewed up by the family dog? There's no accounting for taste.
I wonder if Levi Strauss knew what he was starting 158 years ago when he began making durable pants for miners out of tent canvas. The story goes that the workers said his pants were too rough on their skin, so he imported a strong, twilled cotton cloth from France for his prospector's pants, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The name denim came along later and, after that, our modern nickname "blue jeans." Add the special stitch used in the jeans' pockets and the iconic rivets to make them even stronger, and you have modern jeans. Other brands have evolved besides the Levis, but that is the name we often use when describing our modern work trousers.
Have a great day, pull your pants up, and please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.