Memories From The Past
New PantsKenny Stallard
1956, the summer before starting my senior year in high school. I was working my second year, at Kingsport Dental Laboratory. Kingsport Dental Laboratory was located on the second floor in the Sobelís Building on Center Street.
Rock & Roll was still relatively new and many of the local ministers were getting the baskets ready they were sure we going to hell in. Not only was the music new and different to our parents and grandparents, but the clothing styles were also.
It was in mid-summer my father told me on afternoon that I needed to get a new pair of dress slacks. He told me that when I had a chance the next day to go downstairs to Sobelís Menís Store, see "Spud" Painter, and get a new pair of slacks, putting them on his "bill".
The next day, I took a mid-morning break and went downstairs to Sobelís Menís Store.
When I went in, "Spud" was with a customer at a nearby counter. He looked up and spoke. I told him my dad wanted me to get a new pair of dress slacks. He said "you know where your size are. Go on over and be looking and I will come over when if finish up here".
I went to the trouser racks on the other side of the store and started looking through the selections in my size.
It wasnít long before I came across what I thought were the perfect pair of pants. Bright crimson red gaberdine, flat front. And to top this off, the outer seam was top-stitched with white thread. A young Rock & Rollerís dream. And they were just my size, waist and length. No alterations required.
I could just picture how they would look, paired up with a V-neck sweater over a white or black T-shirt and with my white buck loafers with the black creep-rubber soles. A stone cold chick magnet.
"Spud" finished up with his other customer and came over to wait on me. I showed him the pants I had picked out. Now "Spud" and my dad had been friends for years. "Spud", being the epitome of a good salesman, never showed any reaction to a customerís choice. He admired my choice, said he would put them on my dadís bill and packaged them for me.
I went back to work, sure in my teenage smugness that I hade made the ultimate choice.
Later that afternoon, after work, when I arrived home, my dad was already there. He saw the Sobelís bag and ask to see my new pants.
With great pride, I pulled the trousers from the bag and held them up for his inspections.
A quick glance and "My gawd Kenneth". "What have you got?" "Take those back in the morning and get something presentable."
When I walked into Sobelís the next day,
"Spud" was the first one I saw. With a sly grin on his face,
he ask if he could help me.
I never knew if he played the joke on me or on my dad.
We chose a nice pair of olive colored, mid-weight wool pants.
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