Our Town – May 23, 2013

The Soupster unexpectedly wears the pants in the house

The Soupster unexpectedly wears the pants in the house.

Originally Published June 14, 2007

His nephew wore the largest blue jeans a flummoxed Soupster had ever seen on a fellow human being. That is, in the unlikely event that a well-ripened Soupster and this particular 13-year old boy would consider each other a fellow anything.

The boy was marooned, washed up on Our Town’s shores — the Soupster pitied the boy that much at least. His parents — the Soupster’s sister, one — left their son behind while on a three-day cruise to Skagway and back on the sometimes romantic Alaska Marine Highway.

It had been four years since the Soupster had seen his nephew, who had metamorphosed from a sweet and somewhat shy 9-year-old into his present state, like a caterpillar that turned into a wasp.

“Uncle,” said the boy. “Aren’t your bored living here? It’s kind of like Alcatraz.”

“It’s anything but,” the Soupster thought, but he held his tongue. The Soupster sought to keep his confidence level especially high because of the coming visit of a cruise ship carrying the girl, now woman, that the Soupster had always thought of as the “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.” He’d dated Sally briefly in college while she was estranged from her then boyfriend and now husband, Thurston. Then and now, Thurston was successful, which the Soupster considered a fair deal for being named Thurston.

The Soupster hadn’t wanted Sally to return to Thurston and had always entertained the idea that, deep down, she hadn’t wanted to either. “What if she picked me?” the Soupster had often thought and it was that kind of thought that made him excited about Sally’s visit.

“Those blue jeans, of yours,” the Soupster said to the boy, the best defense being offense. “You know, big pants are imitating prison clothing where they take away your belt and your pants fall down.”

The boy stormed from the room.

The Soupster and his nephew kept a wordless truce for the rest of the day. He spent the morning of Sally’s visit cleaning house, while the boy was off on a neighbor’s boat. The Soupster had just finished the boy’s laundry, which included the enormous blue jeans.

The Soupster picked them up. Off the boy, the blue jeans didn’t seem so huge. The freshly washed jean cloth was soft and still warm from the dryer. The Soupster looked to the left and then to the right. And then he put on the pants. They fit — not like a glove — but better! The years had increased the Soupster to the point where the blue jeans fit as well as jeans had when the Soupster was in college.

He wore the blue jeans all the way to the docks, where he peered at the passengers coming ashore. “Sally!” he called out.

“I can’t believe it’s you!” Sally exclaimed as she neared. “Thurston’s coming.”

The two old friends embraced. Thurston or not, the Soupster felt great. Sally looked him over with a wicked pleased grin. “Nice pants,” she said.


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