When I arrived at my parents' house, it was late(ish) and Mom said, "I have some ironing to do. Why don't you come up to my bedroom and keep me company?" So I left my dad and Thursday night football and headed upstairs with my mom. I don't care how old you are, is there anyplace more comforting than your mom's bed? I sprawled across it sideways and arranged the throw pillows for maximum comfort. We chatted as she ironed her outfit. She and Dad had a funeral to attend the next morning. They attend a lot of funerals. The funerals I attend are few and far between. The funerals they attend seem to be weekly occurrences. I do not look forward to that part of getting older.
She finished ironing her outfit and yelled down the stairs for my dad, "TUT! Get up here and show me what pants you're wearing tomorrow so I can iron them!"
My Dad - Tut - has done this drill before. To say "after this play" or "when there's a commercial" or, God forbid, "What?" would have been a grave error. He came upstairs immediately.
There is a bathroom at the top of the stairs and there was laundry hanging over the shower curtain rod to dry. I had noticed this on my way up the stairs. There were about six pairs of khaki pants neatly hanging there. They all looked the same to me. He grabbed one of them and brought them into the bedroom and handed them to my mom. "You can't wear those." She pronounced, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Tammy, he's wearing this jacket and this shirt and this tie, what pants should he wear?" Now don't ask me why she chose the jacket and shirt and tie but needed him to choose the pants. Pointing that out would've been a grave error. The jacket was navy, the shirt was white, and the tie was a very pretty navy, purple, silver and white paisley.
"Gray?" I answered tentatively.
"Get your gray pants, Tut."
"I don't have gray pants."
"Yes you do."
He emerged from the closet with another pair of khakis. "Not THOSE! Those are golf pants!"
I was out of my league here. They just looked like pants pants to me. "Help him, Tammy."
So I reluctantly left my comfy perch on the bed to look in my dad's closet. There must have been 25 pairs of pants, covering the entire array of hues from stone to tan. I picked a pair on the lighter side of the spectrum and presented them to her.
"Not those. Those have the tags on them." To inform her that tags were easily removed would've been a grave error. I put the pants back in the closet and shrugged at my dad, in an attempt to convey the message, 'you're on your own, dude'.
He handed her another pair. To my eyes, they looked exactly like the three pairs that had just been rejected. But she liked them. He was dismissed and sent back downstairs to his game. She started ironing his pants. Suddenly she stopped mid-press. "He can't wear these! TUT!" Back up the stairs he dutifully trotted. "You can't wear these, there's a HOLE in them!" She showed us both the offending hole. It was less than 1/2 inch right along a seam on the underside of the crotch. It did not spread when she pulled at it. I would've totally worn those pants. For Dad to say the same would've been a grave error.
He chose another pair.
He returned to the game, she returned to the ironing board. "Oh my God, Tammy, look at these. They're DIRTY! Why would he hang dirty pants in the closet? Oh, I swear, that man is such a crumb bum." It probably goes without saying that I saw no evidence of dirt. Sometimes I wonder if my mom and I live in the same world. "There's a HANKIE in the pocket! Now why would you hang up pants with a hankie in the pocket? TUT!"
Up the stairs he trudged. She handed him the offending pants. He folded them neatly over a hanger and returned them to the closet, but not before he threw a quick conspirital wink in my direction. He was making a grave error on PURPOSE! He was stirring the pot! Oh my GOD these two are a hoot!
The next pair he chose also passed muster. He went downstairs and she pressed them without incident.
The next morning when he dressed for the funeral I was sure to tell him how handsome he looked. It wasn't a lie. His white hair was really set off by that navy jacket and the pretty tie. I told her she looked pretty, too. Also not a lie. She was wearing a very smart eggplant pantsuit with a little ruffled peplum jacket. It suited her. What I failed to mention was that my dad's pants had those little hanger wrinkle marks around his knees. Tut can stir the s**t just fine. He doesn't need any assistance from me.