Sunday, June 18, 2006
When I was a kid we had standard issue PJs – fuzzy sleepers with feet during the cold Colorado winters; much lighter fare designed to survive the summer heat in our little non-air conditioned house. (My big sister, in the top-bunk, hogged the one open window in our room, while I sweltered in the bottom bunk where the air didn’t move. Not that I'm bitter. Not at all.)
But my favorite PJs were my dad’s concert Ts.
I was allowed to dip into them only when the laundry had piled up and I had nothing else to wear. They were in the bottom drawer of the old oak bureau with the curved front panel and the dovetailing along the sides (found for a song before antiques were fashionable -- along with the vintage Maxfield Parrish prints that sons were tossing into the trash after their mothers had died. My dad always had an eye for talent – and a bargain.)
The drawer was fairly full with concert T-shirts of bands that my dad had promoted or knew somehow. Most of them were soft and worn; all of them smelled good. They’d gone through the wash by now so the sweet smell of tobacco had disappeared and all that was left was that safe, strong daddy smell.
I had two favorites: The Doors, because the letters looked so cool, and the Dead – a skeleton wearing a rose crown – because it scared me a little bit, but also because it was the softest and most well-worn of the bunch. My dad’s a big guy – around 6 foot 4 – and I was small enough that I could pull them on and they would fall to my knees. Watching the Boogaloos on a Saturday morning I could tuck my legs in and the whole T would snug around me like a little cocoon.
My dad held onto those Ts for years – he’d crack that they were “hole-y” and they were – riddled with holes, but more than that: they were holy vestments of memory. For him they meant the business, the music, the magic. For me they meant my daddy.
And it doesn't get any better than that.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you to pieces.