I recall this essay as a youngster about a Texas family that illustrated how interdependent we are. The story began at breakfast with the family having coffee from Brazil, cereal processed in Michigan from Kansas grain covered with bananas from Panama and sweetened with sugar from Hawaii. The article continued to list products from across the nation and the world used throughout the day. The concluding line was, the family went to bed and was kept awake all night by a barking dog, the only Texas product on the farm. This was before the day when we really became dependent on the world to provide for our needs.
Some years back, a daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her something made in the U.S.A. She correctly responded that doesn’t leave many options. An inventory of my closet verifies the truth of her statement. Of the items in my closet, pants, jackets, suits, shirts, sweaters and ties, the score card reads as follows: Made in China, 20; USA, 12; Bangladesh, 5; Dominican Republic, 5; Indonesia, 4; Italy, 4; Korea, 4; Vietnam, 4; Canada, 3; Egypt, 3; Hong Kong, 3; India, 3; Thailand, 3; Lithuana, 2; Mexico, 2; Taiwan, 2 and one each from Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Macau, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Philippines, Scotland and Sri Lanka.
Of the 98 items inventoried, 88 percent came from outside the United States. Were it not for my 43 ties, many over 30 years old, items manufactured in the USA would be in the five percent range. My kids continued to give me nice ties even after I had little occasion to use them. My stash includes a very thin one I wore at our wedding 54 years ago. Likewise, my 35 caps come from around the world, mostly China.
I’m from the old school. If it’s not worn out, keep wearing it. It’s hard to part with those 10-year-old shirts and 20-year-old sweaters you have grown to love. The late Dell Reed’s theory was to wear your best suit. That way, you always look your best. I tend to save my best clothes until they go out of style. I guess I got this from my grandmother. You could give her a nice nightgown, but she would never wear it, saving it for when she went to the hospital.
Since we are on apparel, I recall the old days when you would wear a hole in your socks by the second day you wore them. According to the men in Evening Shade, having someone darn your socks was one of the major benefits of marriage. It didn’t work in my case. My wife refuses to darn socks. As things turned out, it doesn’t really matter. The socks today never have a hole in them. Do you really believe all this stuff?
Page 2 of 2 - Roy Shaver writes a weekly column for the Daily News.