Old clothes with good memories 

Published 6:58 am Friday, April 27, 2018

“We finally paid someone to take that OU jacket of yours,” my friend, Mike, teased. His message was attached to a photo of the buyer proudly wearing the crimson and cream jacket with the OU logo.

“Boomer Sooner!” I texted back.

Our church was having a yard sale to raise money for “Operation Christmas Child.” My OU jacket was one of my many contributions.

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I drove back by the location for our event with some more clothes.

“Oops, I think I want to keep that one,” I told one of our volunteers as I opened up another box and began unfolding more clothes. The item in question was a genuine matador outfit, circa 1961, from the time my family had traveled to Mexico City. I was barely 6 years old, but I still remember my dad buying it for me to wear to a bull fight, which, I recall, was to me more frightening than entertaining. But the fun of wearing that matador suit didn’t soon fade: once back in Oklahoma, I wore it every time we had “show and tell” day at my kindergarten.

But the bullfighting outfit brought back another memory, a more somber one: The reason we were in Mexico City during Christmas of that year was that my mother didn’t want to spend Christmas at home. She just wanted to get away, far away, and in 1961, my parents, for reasons I’ll never know, chose Mexico City. So, the five of us piled into our station wagon and drove the distance, piling up space between us and Altus, Oklahoma, distancing ourselves, hopefully, from the reason we were getting away — my brother, Dougie, a year and half older than I, had been killed in a car accident only a few months before, a terrible wreck that involved me and another of my older brothers, as well.

With the good memory of wearing that matador suit, there was the sad one, the reason why we were away from home that Christmas.

“I had forgotten about these,” I mentioned to Lois, another volunteer, as I hurriedly unpacked another of our boxes.

Actually, these particular items should have been passed along years ago.

“I remember her wearing that sweater; it was one of her favorites,” I mentioned aloud, as much to myself as to anyone in particular, as I unfolded it.

Lois was kind enough to pay attention.

The clothes were remarkably preserved, with the appearance of being practically brand new. But, the old smell of stale clothes gave their age away.

The Scriptures encourage us that one day believers will take off the grave clothes for heavenly ones: our attire will be tailor-made to adorn bodies made just for that place. So much is a mystery, but surely all our senses: sight, smell, sound, and taste – will be heightened to perfection. And somehow, all memories will be transformed into pleasant ones, honoring the king of kings, and lord of lords, Jesus the savior.

But for now, we cast off the old that we have, and thank him for the memories, as joyful and painful as they often are.

As I handed the sweater to Lois, I noticed a couple of pins, simple jewelry, adorning the garment.

“I’ll take these,” I told Lois, “my daughter might like to have them: they’ll be memories of her momma.”

“I’m sure she will, David,” Lois nodded.

Like many of the others hovering in and around old clothes, they will serve as good memories in anticipation of even better ones.

Contact David Whitlock, Ph.D., at drdavid@davidwhitlock.org., or visit his website, davidwhitlock.org.