The Hand-Me-Down Underwear (G-uno)

It’s quite possible that one of the reasons I am fluffy is that family dinners conversations have always been so hilarious to me. There’s something so right about sitting around a table together eating your favorite foods, listening to your family talk about anything, and everything under the sun. I think we all ate just a bit more just to be able to enjoy our time together a little longer. This is one of those conversations that will probably stick in my mind even after I forget everything else.

Our Dad was always making sure everyone in the house was well stocked up on underwear. It was just one of those quirky  things that a person can become slightly obsessive over. Our family was sitting at the table having dinner, and Dad told Mom we should head to the store because they were having a really good sale on underwear. I told our dad that we all already running out of room in our drawers, and probably wouldn’t be able put anymore underwear in them. Then I decided to ask him why he was always buying everyone new underwear.

Dad was number seven out of ten children. His father was a coalminer. Keeping ten children clothed, and fed was no small accomplishment. In order to stretch every dime hand-me-downs were a normal part of life. My Dad didn’t mind sharing pants, shirts, even shoes if they actually lasted. He did however hate the idea of hand-me-down underwear! Being the fourth brother in line for them conjures up a pretty vivid image of what their condition may have been like. He went further to say that it was a deep source of shame for him. Seeing our Dad vulnerable was a rare sight, he was a fierce personality so his sudden change in demeanor grabbed everyone’s attention.

Meanwhile Mom who always made us a huge delicious dinner was busily filling our plates with more food. Mom is a natural at multitasking in the kitchen. Her small delicate hands move so quickly they look like a blur. She grew up in Southeast Asia, with her brother, and mother. Mom would have to work in the rice fields so her brother could attend school. This was one of the only things I had ever heard her express remorse for, even though I knew there had to be a much longer list of things to be remorseful of growing up in her very meager circumstances. Her father had left them when she was quite young so her mother was the sole provider. She was listening to our Dad’s story, and then she said something that silenced everyone. She said “Well at least you had underwear.”

Mom even with her language barrier has a way of getting her thoughts very accurately relayed. I saw my father’s jaw drop. Then we all burst into laughter. Mom is unique in her outlook on life. She has a way of making you understand that your life is not as difficult as you might imagine it to be. What makes her ability so unique is that she manages to do this in a humorous way while she gently nudges you off the self-pity pot. 😉


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