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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 30, 2002 - Issue 75


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Sure Good Shirt

Thrift SToreHeading to the big city full of lights and all those cars. I wonder where they all go, how they live and what they do, so many people and each one stays someplace and they have to work somewhere and all I see is them coming and going. It is like driving into a big ant pile. On the way in there is a turnoff and I follow it and it takes me to the thrift store. It is like pawn shops, you never know what it is you need until you see it. You have been looking for it a long time, it sits there at the back of your mind and when you see it you say, ah there it is. I pulled into the parking lot and walked in looking around at all the stuff, there was alot of things there, going over to the shoe rack I looked for some size 12 wing tips, dark brown, really wide ones for my big toes. The kind you can ski in on the snow when you get the chance, but they didn't have any for me, so I looked for a new coat, a good one with leather and a wool collar like those old bomber jackets but all the had were polyester ones from way back in the 70's, the kind grandpas used to wear. Thought about trying one on just to see how it was but killed the thought.

It was over to the kids side, some shirts all layed out on the rack and saw it, a white and yellow shirt with a good collar, heavy cotton good for cold weather and it looked almost new. I wanted one of those kind when I was a kid, they used to in the JC Penneys catalog, boys standing on the beach posing, those shirts sure looked good. I got it for 4 bucks, did not have to put it on layaway, just took it on home.

I showed it to my wife and she looked sideways at it, and said where did you get it, I said it was a good buy, and do you think he would like it. She said which one, after all we had five boys. I don't know, I guess I just got it for one of them, you know let them fight over it. Well they came home from school and didn't say much about it, it sat on the table for a while and then disappeared. I didn't see for a while, and asked her what happened to it. she said it has to be washed out and so it disapeared into the pile of clothes and got washed and put away. That time I left early before the kids went to school and got home after they came back and would see it from time to time in the wash, thinking to myself that is sure a good shirt.

One day I had to go the big city. It is about 150 miles away and on the way out of town dropped by the same store and went through the old stuff, finding a good used air conditioner, plugged it in and it got kind of cool, just ten bucks so I took it home. I put it in the trunk and went back inside. As I went in and I saw the stiff boy in the window, and he had on a shirt almost like the one I got there some time ago. Man that is a good one too, I thought and got it for three bucks and took it home.

I unloaded the trunk and put the air conditioner in the storage shed for next summer, maybe it will come in handy or something. I got the shirt and some books I got, four for a dollar and went inside. I put them on the table and later that night when everyone was home I showed them what I found. I held up the shirt at the supper table and all my boys looked at it. My youngest boy said that looks like the one you got before Dad, I said yeah that is why I got it. I know one of you kids likes this kind of shirt. No one said anything. I wondered why, but figured it was old news, after all who gets excited about stuff from thrift shop except me. Anyway, the next day I went to see who got the shirt and it was still sitting where I had left it. It was the same color as the other one. I asked my wife, hey, where is the other one, I want to see it if it is like it. She looked at me from across the kitchen and then said. I do not know where it is. After asking a few more times she said we will talk about it later. I headed out to work and spent the day thinking about how good that shirt would have been for me if I could fit it. It was food for thought.

Later that night, when I got home, I asked about it. She looked at me and said do you remember that old shirt you bought, the first one, well none of the boys wanted it so we washed it a few times and send it back to the donation place down by the tribal store, thinking someone else could use it better than us. We forgot about it and then you brought another one just like it. I said, oh, I did not know this. She looked at me and said we figured it was gone for good and then when you brought that shirt back I looked at it twice, and after picking it up, I could see it was the same shirt.

I thought to myself, I knew I had good taste when I saw it again. I have not seen it for a while and am wondering where it has gone again. It would have fit be good if it was big enough, maybe good enough for JC Penneys. I wonder where it is now...

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