When You’re a Professional Pirate, You Don’t Have to Wear a Suit

But when you’re the father of the bride, you do. Especially if you promised your daughters a long time ago, before they suddenly turned into young women, that you would wear a suit to their weddings.

We’ve known for many months now that the suit issue would have to be addressed. Walter knew he had no choice. He stopped wearing a suit and tie over twenty years ago when his last suit wore out. His “last suit” was the one he bought for another wedding–ours, back in 1981. In the intervening years, he has grown used to the comfort and informality of wearing a nice pair of pants and a collared shirt for “dressy” occasions, but he knew that someday, one of his daughters was likely to get married.

The discouraging thing about the whole business is that on both occasions, a family member had to step forward to pay for the suit. Thirty-two years ago, we didn’t have the money to buy a suit for Walter to wear to our wedding, so we were planning for him and his brother to rent tuxes (we each had only one attendant). Instead, a family member stepped in and offered to buy suits for the two of them. Walter’s gray “wedding suit” lasted him for many years but eventually it wore out. This time, I was thinking that we would just have to be really faithful about checking at Goodwill and other resale shops, when once again a family member pitched in with a gift to allow Walter to buy a very respectable suit.

So today was the day. He took the afternoon off work. Then our friends Steve and Diane showed up. They were leaving on a trip and wanted to leave their car with us while they drove a rental car. Of course this led to a lengthy visit in the driveway because we hadn’t seen them in awhile!

It was well after 3:00 when we finally took off for the mall. Gone are the days when a knowledgeable and desiccated gentleman would pounce on you the moment you stepped into the menswear department. Instead, we fended for ourselves for quite a while, trying to figure out what size Walter actually needed, since small-medium-large doesn’t work for suit jackets! It was very hard to find any that seemed suitable in the right size. Finally, we went in search of help and enlisted the services of a cheerful young lady, who verified my opinion of the correct size. The only problem was that they did not have the correct pant size. The other problem was that if we wanted a 20% discount, we needed a store credit card.

I knew I had had a credit card from that store at some point, so after checking another store (way out of our league price-wise) we drove all the way home to get the card–which I could not find. I’m sure it had been well over a decade since I last used it, so I must have thrown it away. We drove all the way back to the store and then I had to apply for a new credit card (which will be destroyed within weeks!) in order to get the discount.

Then came the fun of choosing the shirt and tie. The suit is navy, the shirt is gray, and the tie is striped. Once again, we weren’t sure of the shirt size and Walter ended up having to try on two shirts before we hit the right size for him. The pants have been ordered and will be shipped to us, at which point the hems will have to be lowered as much as possible because they are out of stock in the length he really needs.

In the “discard” area of the changing rooms there was a hat–a gray fedora. Walter picked it up and put it on just for fun, but found out to his surprise that it actually fit him. (He has a very large head and most hats are too small.) It not only fit him; it looked pretty sharp too, so he ended up getting it. I guess if you’re going to dress up, you might as well do it right!

More candle holders were dyed today. Mary’s friend Joy came to visit and work out the music for the wedding (she is playing the piano). I did a lot more cleaning in my sewing room because I really, really don’t want the dress to get smudged while I’m working on it. Now my sewing room looks better than it has in years! I’m looking forward to sewing some other stuff on my list after the wedding. Tonight all I got done was the stay stitching on the underdress, which is okay because that means tomorrow I can just jump into sewing the pieces together.

The sewing will have to be done early and late tomorrow, though, because I am teaching a class all day–my letter writing class. This is one that I really enjoy teaching and I am looking forward to it.


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