Whistle Britches

Andrew and I were wandering through the clearance section in men’s clothing at Macy’s when we spotted them. A row of corduroy pants in vivid orange and royal blue.

“No one wants the whistle britches,” Andrew commented.

“Do you think they have my size?” I asked. I love a bargain.

“Please, no.”

Andrew does not like to draw attention, and it’s hard to be discreet when you’re dressed in colors loud as caution flags. Plus, everyone would hear the swish-swish of your legs, making it impossible to sneak up on anyone.

I had an entire corduroy outfit in Ninth Grade. The brown pants and matching tunic were hand sewn by a seamstress my mother worked for, cleaning her house. They worked out an exchange, my mother scrubbed and in return the seamstress fashioned my freshman year wardrobe. I don’t remember the rest of the clothing from that year, but the brown corduroy set was extraordinary. I must have resembled a large teddy bear swooshing down the hallways of my high school. Either that, or a giant, rustling paper bag.

I bought a purse at the mall, from one of those pop-up kiosks. An unusual transaction for me, as I usually race-walk past those shops before I’m attacked with a salt scrub or an offer to clean my glasses.


The purses, however, caught my eye with their loveliness. Handwoven by women of the Wayuu tribe in Columbia, each bag resembled more a work of art than a place to stash your lip balm and that paperback you’ve been carrying around for six months. Dazzled by the dozens of bags, I pulled out my credit card (not an easy task as it was buried in the IKEA backpack I tote when I visit the mall).

The saleswoman couldn’t get her payment processing software to work with the mall’s lousy internet service. She tried standing in the doorway of a nearby shop and leeching off their connection, while I wondered if dozens of strange purchases would pop up on my Capital One account. I offered to scoot down to the ATM and bring back cash. At the last minute I remembered the purse, wrapped and tucked in my IKEA backpack. I handed it back to the saleswoman with a teary-eyed promise to return, like Odysseus at the start of his journey to Troy.

You can find out more about the purses here, and even buy one if you have a good internet connection.


The purse I took home –


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