My Father’s New Suit

My father was industrious, hard working and the most optimistic man I ever knew. He made money in many ways. He had a difficulty however. As a child of the Great Depression he had experienced many privations on the Kansas farm where he grew to manhood. Oatmeal three time a day for weeks at a time may be great for someone on a high fiber diet, but it wasn’t very fun.

Dad really struggled with letting go of money. He was generous with gifts, jewelry and other notions for my mother. Beyond that he was frugal. One day he came home with a fine wool custom suit. My family was amazed at the quality of the suit. We were further amazed at the cost of the suit, which he confessed to my mother with great difficulty.

As the weeks went on we waited for him to wear his suit. He didn’t. It languished in the closet in a suit bag. Finally one night at supper my mother asked him, “when are you going to wear your new suit?”

He hesitated for a moment and then said  softly, “I bought this suit to be buried in.”

We looked at him in horror. Was disease about to strike our father dead?”

“I don’t know when that will come, but I want to look nice at my funeral.”

It was more than 20 years later before that sad day came. A few days after dad’s  funeral my mother busied herself cleaning out the closet. As she reached the back of the closet she laughed and then she cried. There it was, still in its original suit bag. The frugal modest man was buried in a nice suit, just not the one he pictured. I’m not sure what the moral of this story is. Maybe there isn’t one. What do you think?

Texas sunset