The Suit – A Cloth Of Our Times
We hope you enjoy this encouraging little story, a reflection of the days we live in.
“Today, thanks to Grandpa, I bought a suit.” Johnny Powalcyk said on his first video blog. “It was different. I didn’t buy off the rack, we can’t do that anymore. Of course the ironic part is it’ll fit better than any I’ve ever owned, but I’ll be only able to wear it around the house.”
He signed off after that short video, and uploaded it to the web. His Grandpa had sent him the money for the suit for his birthday. Which coincided with the first week of quarantine.
Johnny had only really posted the video as a thank you. He was astonished to see it had garnered four thousand views by the next day. Why had something so simple resonated with so many?
The 24 year old didn’t have time to spend on it. He had work to do. Johnny was a programmer, who wrote databases for insurance tables, and other things. As you can imagine, even before the pandemic, he didn’t get out much.
Grandpa Allen called three days later. “Johnny, you’re up to 20,000 views! Are you going to do another one?”
“Grandpa, what would I say? The suit isn’t even here yet. Unless you want to be on and talk about the suit?”
His Grandpa laughed. “No, but this will be good for you Johnny. Go on and do a countdown to the suit. Tell people all the wonderful places you can’t go in the suit.”
They both had a good laugh, and signed off. Johnny would have passed on it, had the day bored him to tears. “Grandpa said to do a post about the countdown for the suit. Which seems silly, until you know why a suit was important to our family.”
He began to tell the story of how his Grandpa had a choice when he graduated high school. Pay rent, or buy a suit. “For him, a suit was more than just a roof over his head for a few months. It was a ticket to a career.”
“So Grandpa bought a suit from Adolfo’s and went to his job interview. He was the only 18 year old dressed impeccably. They gave him the job.”
Over the next few posts, Johnny shared how he stayed on his cousin’s couch while working for the architectural firm. “He worked himself up to an assistant. Grandpa hoped one day to pay for night school.”
“After two years, he was no closer to making a dent than the day he started. Or so he thought. An accident ruined his suit, but it opened a door at the same time.”
“The guy he worked for had a drinking problem. He had too much at lunch. That afternoon, he got mad that his drawings weren’t working. Ben Nettles threw a jar of ink, and it hit Grandpa, soaking his coat.”
“The guy wasn’t a bad guy. When he sobered up, Ben bought a suit off the rack to replace it. When he showed up at the little apartment, an upgrade from the couch, he felt bad.”
“Kid, what are you doing? You’re working for a two bit firm, they hired me. You’re going no where.”
“Grandpa simply looked at him. ‘A month ago I was on a couch. I’m going somewhere, and so are you. I’m heading up, what direction are you heading?”
Johnny explained in the next video that Ben threw the new suit at him and left. He couldn’t get what Grandpa had said out of his head. Ben apologized, and got help.
“While recovering he apologized to Grandpa, and offered to help him pay for night school. Reluctantly Grandpa agreed, provided he allowed him to pay him back. They really helped each other.”
“In the process, Ben reconnected with his estranged daughter, Alice. Alice ended up marrying a man named Allen, my Grandpa. Great Grandpa Ben insisted on buying Grandpa a suit for the wedding.”
“So you see, suits are pretty important in our family. I was going to use mine for some work stuff, and to ask a friend out. I thought the suit may give me the nerve, considering I’ve been too scared to for months now.”
“I don’t know if my suit will take me all of the places that Grandpa’s did. I do know one thing Grandpa taught me. It’s not the suit that makes the man, it’s the person in it, but nice wrapping paper does adds value.”
“It’s sort of like that with this we’re all going through. The people who are going through it are precious, and we can do easily value the wrong things, because they add some value. However, it’s like something else Grandpa says.”
“Allen, there’s nothing more valuable than faith, family, and friends. Go through things as best you can, enjoy what you can, but hold on to what’s important with everything in you. For it can hold on to you when you feel like you’re falling.”
With that, he signed off again, and went to work. A few hours later he needed some data from Wanda. He video called her, and they talked about work for a few minutes, then she asked if his suit was there yet.
He said it had been delayed, and she mentioned his video blogs. “I knew you were close to your Grandparents, but you never mentioned how they met before. I loved listening to it. Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
The boy was shy, but he wasn’t stupid. It clicked that, she had been watching his video blogs, including the last one. Allen hoped that her question wasn’t just about is Grandparent’s story.
“It just never came up, honestly when I’m around you I don’t always think straight. This is awkward, and if you don’t want to it’s ok, not that we can anytime soon anyway.” He sighed then blurted out quickly. “Do you want to go out when this is all over?”
She laughed. “I’ve been waiting for you to get up the nerve for six months, and when you do, we can’t go anywhere, but yes. How about we both order take out, and talk?”
They did this anyway, but now it was official, they were dating. Over the course of the quarantine, they fell in love. When their state started opening back up they got to go out. The two got engaged, and six months in they got married.
Like most the video wedding was weird, but their family all watched from their screens. The Minister, Wanda in her beautiful white dress, Allen, and the new suit that finally showed up. It fit perfectly.