Fashion or Food

Jan 09, 2016

Fashion or Food


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world.
Rite of Passage Two –Acquisition-

Q. How about your very first item of clothing and a prized possession that set you apart from others?

Mine was my Scout’s hat and the staff with its nifty rings! I didn’t spend a whole lot of time just sitting and looking at them. My main purpose was to wear the hat and carry the staff and stand on the corner where I knew that my 8 year old playmate Sylvia, with long very blonde hair, would be bound to see me…sooner or later.

It was the first of a whole lifetime of preoccupation with outward appearance and how what I wore might influence others that I so wanted to approve of…me!

Has that changed?

I really wonder sometimes and I’m so glad that I live in a mainly rural area surrounded by nearly 100,000 acres of some of the richest farmland in the world. Somehow moderate fashion statements seem just a wee bit silly…so by and large I seem to fit in. Of one thing I am sure, my wardrobe has been dramatically downsized.

Tie salesmanI have one blue blazer, a very odd green one (and I don’t play golf!) One suit and a whole bunch of ties that are totally redundant around here. I have been given slacks and shirts as presents and a few pullovers (sweaters)…so I have more than enough to be just a wee bit different from day to day.

I need to let some of the extras find their way to someone who could do with a nearly new shirt, or slacks. I doubt they would want a tie?



  1. Connie Says: 10:10 pm

    I remember getting some very nice clothes to wear at various times in childhood but many of my “new” clothes were hand me downs from older cousins. I always felt they were just as special as any of the brand new clothes that I got from time to time (especially for Easter). As I got older, new clothing didn’t really seem to make that much difference to me. I didn’t really care that much for how I looked as long as I was clean and presentable. To save on costs, I made many of my own clothes but even that lost it’s importance to me. I do most of my shopping now at consignment stores but have developed quite a knack for being able to put together some pretty spectacular ensembles (according to my friends). About twice a year, I go through my closet and downsize everything that hasn’t been worn within the last 6 months. Several times, I donate to a local church that collects clothing to distribute to anyone who needs something to wear. It always makes me feel good when I see someone around town wearing something that I donated.
    Love reading “Flash of Silver” even though I’m getting a late start.

  2. Patti Jean Meehan Says: 1:46 am

    My first loved article. A chefs hat my mom bought me at 11 years old. I would ware it while watching your show. I wore it in the kitchen helping my mom. My father laughed at me but I loved that hat!!’

  3. Ross Christensen Says: 7:03 am

    I own about 75 ties and am always looking for more. Many of them have sentimental value, my late father in laws tie, my grandfathers tie, the one from my daughter, etc. To me clothes with a history are the most valuable and treasured. I would take all of your ties Graham! 🙂

  4. Jean N Sozio Says: 4:11 am

    P.S. I m enjoying “Flash of Silver” so much!!! You are an excellent author – I wish there was more – a sequal – ?????

  5. Jean N Sozio Says: 4:06 am

    I spent 35 years working full time in various technical and administrative positions where there was a customary expected attire – almost like a uniform. Since retiring I too now indulge only in “loungewear” :-). I too live in a rural area where barn boots now outshine my former pumps. My first fashion temptation was a pair of suede western riding boots. I was enamored with horses as a child living in a suburban village where none were allowed. As the years went by I found my self worth in having the latest fad – I had to be “cool”. Now – I am comfortable. I only purchase clothes as I need them from wear or shift in body weight. I purpose to donate to the Salvation army the equivalent good items from my close that no longer work for which I am adding something that does. This keeps me cleaned out and not over stuffed (I filled 3 closets when I was working – I now share half of one closet with my husband) while providing good quality for my less fortunate community. There was a time when we too had to rely on the items provided by thrift stores and I will never forget the thrill of pride at getting a pair of L..Bean blue jeans for $8.00! I love knowing I can provide that same thrill for another.

  6. Bradley Campbell Says: 12:09 pm

    Graham, oh to be able to give up the neckties! Unfortunately, they are a required part of my daily dress for work – but at least I try to find whimsy and humor in my choices of neckwear and braces. One of my prized possessions as a child was a green teapot in the shape of an art deco car that sat on my great-grandmother’s stove. When we would visit, she would make tea, and we would share iced animal cookies. It sits on my bookcase with some of my favorite cookbooks (yours, Julia Child’s, Jacques Pepin’s, and Vincent Price’s). Thanks!!!

  7. Bob Hosmer Says: 12:22 pm

    Dear Graham, We last met at Jon Steven’s house for Growing Gardens for Life. You are so gracious and kind and generous. Thank you so much for the encouragement you’ve given them and the mission.
    I had a pair of engineer boots that I loved to show-off in when I was a kid. They were black and had a strap and buckle across the instep. Your giving away clothing reminds me of what I’ve been doing of late. I’ve packed loads to the thrift shops and need to do more. I’ve given all kinds of cutlery, dishes, crystal and have more to get rid of. I’m trying to scale down, but now you’ve motivated me to do more, Thank you. Bob Hosmer

  8. Lynda Van Wyk Says: 7:28 am

    Dear Graham, I want to thank you again for a lovely afternoon at uw bookstore. It was so fun to meet you, have a chat and listen to your presentation. I used to watch the Galloping Gourmet with my grandma many years ago, I can hear her chuckle when I tell her I met (and got a hug from) you! I am enjoying Flash of Silver, revisiting my older cookbooks and planning healthier meals. I truly walked away Saturday afternoon wanting to do better and be better. Thank you, and thank you for the sweet prayer you closed with. Peace ~ Lynda

  9. Mark Says: 7:02 am

    Ahh my first “big” thing
    Cowboy boots! You see my parents would never buy the more expensive sneakers ( they were more than 15.) for me or my brother
    And even though I really dident care much what I looked like, those boot were a major thing to me
    No longer could the kids tease my about my shoes
    Too this day I have 2 pairs of shoes
    One chef
    One boot
    Saves money
    As I told my grandson the other day
    If they don’t like how you look, that’s there problem
    Make yourself happy, that’s what matters

  10. Jill Weber Says: 2:03 am

    The question of the first article of clothing and a prized possession I owned are one and the same – a red and white pinstripe cape and red bycoket (archer’s hat; Robin Hood hat). I don’t remember my age, but looking at the family home movies I would guess 5 years old. The cape was held around my neck with a safety pin, and I would run as fast as possible and pretend to fly. I needed a hat because self-respecting super heros should have one.. I don’t remember what happened to the cape and hat. I do remember my imaginary super powers made me invincible against older siblings! Graham wanted Sylvia’s approval and I wanted my siblings to think I was stronger than they were.

    There are several thoughts I have with regard to Graham’s post. What do I acquire; How do I get things; why do I want them; who do I become because of what I have; and when is it time to for me to give something up; where can items benefit others?

    Perhaps thinking about such things would reduce consumption of “stuff” and allow for meaningful production of internal self worth, and seeing the worth of others.

  11. sammi fredenburg Says: 1:37 am

    My scout uniform was a hand down from my sister, saved by my mother, and my sister was nine years older than me. So I was in second grade, wearing a uniform gathered in that my sister wore in sixth grade. And nothing like the other girls wore. It was humiliating. That comes to mind with what you shared Graham, you’re scout items. Outward appearance has never been a big issue to me, other than that scout dress, I really remember hardly any of it. I remember in college, at a summer youth group campfire, a discussion with a couple of guys concerning women females of most species being plain and blending in with the surroundings to protect their young, and males being bright and colorful, and how makeup was necessary to make female humans stand out and become desirable to male humans. I chose to blend in and protect the young; makeup has never suited me well anyway (I cry at the drop of a hat, ruining any attempt at eye or cheek stuff lasting long.) Prize possession: My first Bible, Easter 1968. Hands down.

  12. Anita Griggs Says: 8:56 am

    We go through seasons and it looks like you are ready and willing to move into one that better suits your lifestyle where you live. Bravo. That speaks of your flexibility to change. The scripture popped into my head that admonishes husbands to love their wives just as they “love themselves.” If you see a man who takes good care of himself, he will love his wife accordingly. That gives a woman security. So, I think it’s a good thing to not only eat well, but dress well because it speaks of how we see ourselves and how we might conversely care for others. We just don’t need as much “stuff” as lifestyles change. I like the way you dress, so don’t get too silly, okay? (smile) Now for MY closet. Ouch!

  13. Hope Says: 8:44 am

    Inspiration for sure, Graham! For many years we have managed on a limited budget. We have relied almost exclusively on the kindness of others passing along “hand-me-downs” or second-hand stores to clothe our four boys. I taught them that when we received an abundance of any item, then that was God telling us that it was time for us to pass the extra along to someone else.

    In fact I recently got a chuckle when a cousin, with whom we have swapped boy clothes over the years, gave me back a sweater for my youngest son to wear. “Do you recognize it?” she asked excitedly. She has a picture of my OLDEST son wearing the same sweater. That means that this amazing knitted wonder has survived being worn by SIX boy cousins! I don’t know what that sweater is made of, but it is apparently pretty good stuff!

    By the way, there are those who still love to tie a tie. My oldest son, age 19, LOVES to set himself apart from the crowd with his clothing. He wears a button-up shirt and a tie nearly every day. He’s definitely an anomaly at work and on his college campus. His entire wardrobe is bought at the second-hand stores he works at part-time putting himself through college. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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