Cargo Pants and Patches

I wear Richard's old shorts to feel closer to him.

by Joe Mudd on September 19, 2014

I don’t know how many other grieving parents can say this, but Richard and I were about the same size. He was just a shade taller than me, but we were close to the same.

That means I have his clothes. I have his shoes. Shirts, pants, socks – the whole wardrobe now belongs to me.

I wear something of his nearly everyday.

I didn’t start out intending to have something of his on all the time. Somehow I just seemed to find a bit of Richard’s clothing every time I got dressed. I guess it just makes me feel a little closer to him when I wear something I know he used to wear. I get the same feeling driving his car. The one he was driving the last time I ever saw him.

This has gotten more challenging over the years as my waistline has expanded. His St. Patrick’s day clothes have gotten pretty snug. I didn’t wear them to work this year, because I thought they would be too uncomfortable, and my job  has grown more messy and I didn’t want to ruin them.

He was fond of cargo pants. If you’re like me, and not a “clothes person,” maybe you don’t know what they are. These pants come with extra pockets, located about thigh level on each leg. If you have to carry tools and parts at work, they are great. They also provide storage for all your electronic gear, like phones, Kindles and iPods. I’ve become a fan too.

Most of Richard’s pants, including the cargo pants, were shorts. He wore shorts even in the winter. Maybe that’s why he did’t last long.

The automotive paint shop where I work is a hot place. Lot’s of big ovens to bake the cars in make sure we’re seldom cold. We also have to wear coveralls over our clothes. Shorts are a welcome garment. I used to wear Richard’s shorts to work all the time.

Most of his shorts were already well worn. They became more so as I worked in them. Seams started coming apart. Holes started showing and growing, in places no holes should be. They became thinner and thinner.

Debbie sewed them and patched them for me. The patches weren’t very comfy against my skin, and they didn’t stay on very well.

Eventually I had to give up and toss most of his shorts. It felt like I was losing a little part of him each time.

I still have one pair of his shorts I can wear to work. One of the pockets is about half ripped off, but none of my parts show through anywhere. That’s a good thing. I wear them sometime, but not real often. I’m trying to hold onto them as long as I can.

If I totally run out of his clothes, and I get really desperate, I can always break out his University of Louisville gear. But then, a man has to draw the line somewhere, and don’t think sentiment can drive me that crazy (go Big Blue).

I still have his dress shoes. I don’t wear dress shoes much, so I should have those for quite some time.

I also have his belt. It’s dark brown, and I wear it whenever I don’t need a black belt, which is most of the time. It’s a nice, high quality leather belt. It has plenty of room for expansion.

I think it will last as long as I do.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy December 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I have a pair of my son’s shoes from when he was in the 5th grade. His feet were the same size as mine for about a minute that year. I used to wear them all the time but now there is a hole in the sole of the right one. I can’t throw them away. I lost my son 2 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago. I hate this time of year. Sending you and your wife white light and hope of some comfort.

Aaron’s mom


Debbie Mudd December 14, 2014 at 12:29 am

Joy, when I read your post I had to smile. Let me explain. Richard was very funny about his shoes. He had a favorite pair he wore out then proceeded to tape them back together with duct tape and continued to wear them. It was a family joke…Richard and his shoes. At one point his girlfriend even took him shopping to get a different pair. Don’t get me wrong, he had plenty of shoes but these were his favorite. After he died, I couldn’t find them and thought they had been thrown away. But when I cleaned out his room last year I found them. Needless to say I was thrilled and shed a few tears. I brought them downstairs and took pictures of them then set them under my great-grandmothers treadle machine under his picture. Well, last Christmas as we were decorating our tree it came time to put the topper on and we couldn’t get the angel to set right, Joe reached down, picked up one of Richard’s duct-taped shoes and put it on the top of the tree…PERFECT! So our tree-topper is now our son’s shoe again this year. It brings a smile to my face every time I look at it, and somehow I think Richard would approve. So hang onto those shoes as long as you want. Richard’s stay under this old sewing machine all year along until Joe puts one of them on top of our tree.

It’s hard to explain but seeing that shoe on top of our tree makes getting through the season a little more manageable.

Richard has been gone 5 years now, and I miss him everyday. Take care of yourself and do what you can to help yourself get through each day, that’s all any of us can do. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers too.


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