This week has been ripe with the harbingers of autumn to come. Morning brings the shouts of children as they walk to school with bright faces and shiny new backpacks. Yellow leaves peep through the trees' coverings of summer green. Evening temperatures flirt with a bit of new coolness in the night air.
And this week, I bought our pants-and-suits.
What in the dickens is a "pants-and-suit"? Why, it's a family marker of the approach of autumn. A small, silly celebration that has meaning only for this household--yet it's the kind of sweet and personal holiday observance that makes each family unique and strong.
The genesis of the term lies with me.
Specifically, I have a brain that runs on all eight cylinders, and a tongue that sometimes stumbles in the attempt to catch up.
So, about 15 or 16 years ago, our family was headed outside to do yard work one sunny Saturday morning. When my husband, Steve, appeared in the doorway wearing a very nice new shorts set, I turned to him and exclaimed brightly,
"Why, isn't he cute--in his little pants and suit!"
I don't know what I was thinking or why it came out that way, but Steve began to wheeze with laughter. When he could straighten up, he was wiping tears from his eyes as he chortled, "Pants and suit, pants and suit--that's FUNNY!"
What could I say? It WAS funny--a random phrase thrown out from a spinning brain and mangled by a mush mouth that struck us all as memorable.
And so a new phrase entered our family vocabulary. In the Ewer household, "pants and suit" means those comfy sets of sweats, fleece or flannel that we wear after work and on weekends during cold weather.
Steve comes home from work? "Go put on your pants-and-suit; dinner's almost ready!" I'll call from the kitchen. Let the laundry get backed up? "Sweetie, I don't have any pants-and-suits!" will float down the stairs from the bedroom closet.
Each spring, I retire every stained, torn or tattered set of pants-and-suits, and I mark each fall by buying new sets for all of us.
That day was yesterday; today, a tidy stack of fleece tops and pants waits on the breakfast table, ready to be tried on and worn against the coming cold weather.
It's a sign of fall. It's a sign of the holidays ahead. It's a silly little tradition that has meaning only for this family--but that's what makes it so sweet.
Do you have a pants-and-suit to share? Because it's these little celebrations that spice the days of our lives together, and will be passed down as part of family lore, so tell us about it!