Short Pants


A trike bI grew up in northern Saskatchewan, which in reality was only half up the map towards the North Pole. The winters were early. The summers short. The mosquitoes were in a rush. We were not in the middle class, primarily because of my father’s desire for wine, porchclimber as we called it. My mother was adept at running the family of eight on a very tight budget, relying heavily on five hundred hills of potatoes, long rows of peas and carrots. It was her exuberance for thrift which culminated in clothing being resewn or resized. My brother was bothered by the patches sewn on patches. It stiffened the knees, particularly, giving one a Charlie Chaplin appearance when walking.
For me, it was my short pants. They were the last in the line of refurbishments to the hand me downs which had begun as the ‘new’ [donated by a neighbour] pair of pants for one of my older brothers. Often the knees were worn enough to require immediate reinforcement. With the patches sewn into the cuff, my short pants were born. The girth of them remained unchanged, and, on my small frame provided me with sufficient walking space within them. As well, this waist space allowed me to warm my hands within them without interference. They were held up suspenders, suspenders that had been remodelled from my dads. The scarcity of buttons meant that often the two fingers at each end were clasped over the same button. The short pants seemed to be drapped upon me, scalloped around my small torso. With my hands warming themselves in my southern parts, the suspenders tended to slip off my small shoulders, allowing full exposure. by They were, with a view to conserving thread, undone as little as possible to ‘fit’ the intended beneficiary. When they came down to me, and in view of the warm but short summer approaching, my model was short pants.
The snickers from passing adults, I now realize, were due to my movement within the parameters of my short pants, and to the occassional accidental falling of my pants, which in itself was humourous because of their size, stiffness and location revealed only a small portion of my ragged underclothes. It appeared as if they were floating along, my feet barely visible beneath the bottoms. When I ran, tilted forward for speed, my feet would inevitable catch the front inside cuff, and, I would tumble. I developed a thoughtful gait, as well as a dislike of short pants.
It was no wonder, then, that I developed a dislike of short pants, even long short pants. In the public domain, then,short pants were not a sought after article of clothing.
My short pants went the way of the balloon tired bicycle I inherited from an older brother. They were all the rage for those who could afford them. My older brother delivered the Saskatoon Star Phoenix to accumulate enough money to purchase it. When he began to notice girls, his attachment wained to the point of my mother purchasing it from him for an unpaid amount of cash. For me, the balloon tired bicycle was my ticket to a freedom I had never previously experienced. Two and three times a day I rode to the airport, a distance of four miles each way, I ran errands for my mother, and, did the daredevil ramps and mudpuddles. This infatuation with the two wheeler never left me, unlike my dislike for short pants. When I entered university I was so enamored with the smoothness of paved streets of Saskatoon, that I rode it day after day from one end of the City to the other.
My acceptance of short pants, though, returned in recent years. Seeing a bit of sun, I immediately shuffle to the dresser to retrieve a pair, don them, and expose myself to the environment.


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