The Easter Outfit

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

Another sunny, beautiful day here in Rocky Hill.  The sun continues to shine on all of us here at the store.  Everyone continues to stay healthy; attitudes are great, and we are all looking forward to the day this virus comes to an end!  We are going to continue with our present store hours next week. They are as follows:

We are open daily from 10am until 6pm.

We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

Every Tuesday and Saturday from 9am to 10am is designated for the higher risk people.

I know these hours are not the most convenient for some of you, and I apologize.  I am pretty confident that our next adjustments for hours of operation will be to increase them instead of a reduction.  In the meantime, let’s just keep washing our hands and not touching our faces!

When I was getting ready for work today, I decided to wear my Easter outfit to work  since we will not have a church service to go to tomorrow.  I guess I am probably too old to still call it an “ Easter outfit”, but that is what we called it growing up.

Every Easter, my mom would tell my brother and I it was time to go get an Easter outfit.  I can’t really remember if I was for this or against this, but like it or not, that is what we were going to do.  I do remember the place we went to pick out our outfit was Crenshaw’s in the Bearden Shopping Center. This was a children’s clothing store and, short of making your own clothes, about the only place around here to buy children’s clothing back then.  So, off we would go, mom with her two boys in tow. I don’t remember if mom picked out our outfits or we got to pick them out ourselves.  I do remember powder blue and powder yellow leisure suits were usually the choice.  I am not sure which one of us wore what color, but I am pretty sure my brother and I had to have a fight to decide it.  We liked to fight about anything we could think of.  I will tell you, regardless if I won the fight or not, I looked better in mine than he did in his!  Take that, big brother!

Once we had picked out our new clothes, our next stop was Coffins shoe store, which was right down the sidewalk.  You certainly couldn’t go to church in a new leisure suit without having a new spiffy pair of shoes to go with it.  Coffins is still doing business in Bearden and, yes, I was in there not long ago, getting a new pair of shoes.  I know they are in their third generation as a family business, and it may be four.

I liked going to Coffins because I liked getting new shoes.  Back then I don’t think I liked shopping for clothes much, but I never missed a chance to get some new shoes.  There is just something about getting a new pair of shoes.  I think my wife has inherited that trait from me.  Anyways, when we went to Coffins, I knew my mom and Mr. Coffin would have to catch up a little bit before I was allowed to run through the store picking out shoes.  Patience wasn’t my strong suit, but back then, the assumption to a kid was, any adult was allowed to spank any kid anytime they were misbehaving regardless if they were your parents or not.  I don’t know if Mr. Coffin would have spanked me or not, but I am pretty sure my mother wouldn’t have had a problem with it, so I was not about to test it.  I figured since I got spanked at school, at church, and by my friends’ parents, the rules were the same at the shoe store.  Maybe it was the law back then?

Once Mr. Coffin and my mother finished catching up, it was time to pick out some shoes.  The first thing you had to do was have Mr. Coffin measure your feet.  I always based the size of my foot on the particular pair of shoes I wanted.  Mr. Coffin, on the other hand, would determine your foot size and then show you the various styles he had on hand that would fit your feet.  This wasn’t as fun for me.  I always wanted a pair that only came in adult sizes and was willing to go up five or six sizes to make this happen.  That wasn’t going to fly with Mr. Coffin or my mother, so I conformed to the choices given.  Plus, I didn’t want a spanking.

Probably the most enduring memory I have of Mr. Coffin is the story he told me every time I went to get shoes.  When he would crouch down in the floor to measure my feet, he would always tell me he knew my uncle.  I think they were fraternity brothers in college.  I didn’t know my uncle very well, but Mr. Coffin said he was quite the character.  Mr. Coffin told me they would be having a social event at the fraternity and, when things got really wild, my uncle would decide to try to call Bob Hope, the Hollywood star.  I actually think he got through and talked to Bob Hope.  No telling what he had to say to get through to a Hollywood star and who knows what they talked about.   I guess back then, a prank phone call constituted a wild frat party.  Wonder what Mr. Coffin would think about them now?

I can’t remember all of the details of Mr. Coffin’s story about my uncle.  Actually, I don’t think he ever quite finished the story.  His voice would always trail off at the end of it.  It was if he just realized he might should not tell a young boy the ending of such a story about my crazy uncle, especially with my mom standing right there.  Mr. Coffin seemed like a pretty straight-laced guy, so he probably felt sorry for me knowing I was going to grow up with a crazy uncle in the family.  Once Mr. Coffin and I picked out my shoes, my Easter outfit was complete.  Now all I had to do was not mess up my new shoes before the Easter service on Sunday. 

So now you know the story of my Easter outfit.  I know it doesn’t have much to do with the real Easter Story, but as I reflect back while writing this story, I realize my Easter Story evolved out of everyday life.  Somehow through all of those events, l learned what a parent loving their children looks like and what a business caring for their customers looks like.  I also learned how everyone in a community can give you a good spanking when you deserve one but will also wrap their arms around you when you need comfort.  I have also come to learn that everyone has a crazy uncle in their family, so there is no shame in that.

Finally, the most important thing I have learned is, Easter outfit or no Easter outfit, God still loves me the same and always will!

I hope everyone has a great Easter and see you next week!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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