My wife being a thrifty sort never let me throw out my old Levi’s and for many years, she would get her trusty Singer Sewing Machine out and with her inventory of no longer reparable jeans she would carefully cut a piece of the same color material to plug a hole in one of my well worn Levi’s with the idea to make the patch as inconspicuous as possible. For worn out Levi’s back then, with patches, was a sure sign that things might not be going so well, at the ranch. But in today’s world of high fashion the more holes in your jeans can be an outward indications that the inside of your mattress might have a hidden pile of cash.
I once knew an old cattleman who’s belt was made from a piece of old rope and his belt buckle was made by tying a square knot. His pickup truck was dented from bumper to bumper and bailing wire was his favorite repair kit for fixing a broken gate. Or a corral board on the ground could be wrapped with that ever loving wire then nailed up with rusty nails, using a flat rock for a hammer. It took only a few minutes and he was back to work in a corral that was good as new and a piece of rubber inner tube and some bailing wire, why they were meant for each other when it came time to fix a leaky water pipe. When this old gentleman finally went to meet Saint Peter, his heirs came from the four corners of our country to sit dutifully at his lawyers office waiting to hear the reading of the will. Not knowing if all those thrifty years was a sign of poor ranching practices or would the old saying “a penny saved is a penny earned” carry the day. It was the latter as the value of his estate numbered in the millions.
Most mornings I walk the 100 yards over to the Massey house for coffee. It’s where my granddaughter Sammy lives with her parents and on this particular day her sister Sage was home for the day from college. I don’t know how the topic of “how blue jeans with holes in them were now in style and the more holes the better” came up but that’s when the lights came on in the part of my brain where my memory of old jeans is stored. Jack you’ve got a whole pile of jeans that might get a chance to make a fashion statement in a second life. These relics from the past, this time around, won’t have to end the day all wet with sweat and dirt but rather have the sweet smell of perfume. I’m sure my old friend with the rope belt would be chuckling knowing that his dress code was now in style. Well, idle chatter worked its way around to me. So I made an off hand comment about the big stack of jeans I had waiting to be patched. Sammy and Sage I could see wanted to have a look at my pile of cloth that I wore before I developed my present day Pot Belly.
Oh grandpa can we go look? Why sure, thinking to myself, with any luck at all, my pants might get a chance for a do over. I opened the door to a fairly large closet, where waiting for repairs were stacks of “well worn” shirts and pants and an old coat or two. “Excuse me grandpa I want to look closer” said Sage “Oh grandpa you’ve got a gold mine here.” said Sage. My reply was to say “you're too short for these pants” “Not if I roll up the cuffs.” Replied Sage. It didn’t take but a few minutes and that once overloaded closet of potential do overs was gone.
I felt a case of the warm fuzzies coming on as I watched two very giddy grand daughters loaded down with holy pants and some faded shirts, that were going to get a new lease on life all because of their sun faded colors and holes. While my only thought was trying to keep up with a ranch that is always in need of more holy jeans and faded shirts to keep on keeping on.