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Cheryl Hughes: Hospital Attire

On Christmas morning, Garey and I got up and got dressed to go to Natalie’s, Scott’s and Sabria’s house.  I was bustling around, making sure I had all the presents together, so Garey could help load them, when I noticed he was wearing a shirt I had been looking for.


               “Where did you find that shirt?” I asked.

               “It was in my Alabama bag, and I thought it looked comfortable, so I put it on,” Garey said.

               Garey’s Alabama bag is an overnight bag he keeps packed and ready for weekend trips to his mom’s house in Corner, Alabama.

               “That’s the shirt Sabria gave you last year for Christmas,” I said. 

               “I guess, I put it in my bag before we left to do Mom’s and Charlotte’s Christmas last year,” he said.

               “You didn’t happen to find two light-weight denim shirts and a pair of overalls in that bag, did you?” I asked.

               “No, those are right here,” he said, as he reached over his head, and pulled the three items down from the shelf in his closet.

               “Do you know how long I’ve been looking for those things?” I asked.

               Garey looked confused.

               “One year,” I said, “one year to the day, to be exact!”

               I had long ago given up hope of finding those things.  I figured I had accidentally boxed up the two shirts and the overalls with stuff I shipped to Goodwill.  I had felt particularly guilty about losing the shirts, because Garey had asked for those shirts specifically to work in for the summer.

               “If you knew where they were, why didn’t you wear them this summer?” I asked.

               “I guess, I was saving them for when I go to the hospital,” Garey said with a grin.

               This has been a long-standing joke between Garey and his sister and his mom.

               Each time Garey’s mom, Aggie, received a gown or a robe or a pair of nice house shoes as a gift, she would put the items back in a special drawer, so she would have something nice to wear in the event that she had to go to the hospital.

               I’ve been in this family for 46 years, and Aggie has been saving stuff for the hospital since then, and Garey’s sister, Charlotte, has argued with Aggie over her wearing raggedy cotton gowns while having a drawer running over with beautiful silky sleepwear since then, as well.

               The “saving it for the hospital” remark has carried over to other things Aggie saves.  In 2005, Aggie bought a brand new Honda Accord, but she continued to drive her old Buick, keeping the Honda safe in the garage.  Charlotte told her mother she wasn’t sure there was going enough space in that hospital room for the Accord, if that was what she was saving it for. 

               (You know the old used car salesman’s line, “It was only driven by a little old lady to church on Sundays.”  Aggie’s Honda is actually that car.)

               I, personally, don’t spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what I’m going to wear if I have to go to the hospital.  I’m not particularly fond of those gowns that open in the back however, so maybe I should give more thought to a hospital trousseau.  I’m more about comfort, so my hospital attire would include flip flops and a night shirt.  Garey probably has a hospital bag that I don’t know about, with clothes I bought for him 46 years ago when we were first married. 

I hope they still fit. 


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