Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 1-28-13
Last week, my chore coat fell apart. Its seams parted, its strength failed, it became an old rag barely held together by spidery threads. I had to trash it. A sad moment.
I was fond of that garment. It had carried me through rainstorms, blizzards, farrowing pens, calving barns and chicken-house cleaning; it had been used as a horse blanket, a horse halter, a dog collar and a pillow when on a camping trip. You name it, that coat had been there. But when I tried to don it this morning and my arm accidentally punched a hole in its midback, I realized my poor chore coat had outlived its usefulness, gone south, been ambushed and given up. So I buried it. But the antediluvian garment had been loyal, faithful and done its all just for me for many a year. So I wrote a eulogy and held a private service as follows. Tune: The Hearse Song. Remember when you were a kid and you thought: The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out was so funny?
The Chore Coat Song
Did you ever think as your chore coat frays
That sooner or later twill be its last day?
Its poc-kets got shredded on
a vicious wire fence
When you ran from a bull that
made you quite tense.
Then you calved the heifers
and slimed the coat.
It’s all icky now and
it smells like a goat.
And then both sleeves were burned
in a hot branding fire.
Then it got run over by a pickup tire.
Oh the collar’s raggy, the lining’s tat-ty.
It’s ripped all over, and sure looks shabby.
And it’s got no buttons,
just some old safety pins
That will keep it closed ’gainst
the cold winter winds.
And its once bright color has more than faded.
The pore thing is really dilapidated.
And It makes you sad, and it
puts tears in your eye,
For the day has come you must
now say good bye.
So you take it out and you lower it down
Into the burn barrel right on the ground.
You add some fu-el from a gasoline can.
Then you strike up a match your hand.
And the flames blaze up
and the chore coat moans.
The cloth it curls up and
the cloth seems to groan.
And so goes the last of that old ratty garment,
Cept for three safety pins
like claws on varmints.
Now there’s nothing left but a pile of ash
And residue looking like dirty old trash.
So you scoop it up and fling it away
And then think of the new coat
you’ll buy today.
… you’ll … buy … to … day …! ❖
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I remember my dad saying, “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” But before we get to the history lesson, consider this: