Dad’s Pockets

For the summer I’m looking at my Brown Betty chapbook. All the pieces dealt with growing up in Cape Breton.

Dad’s Pockets

as a kid
I would go through the pockets
of my Dad’s suit coats sport jackets
as they hung in the closet
I would find quarters 

which I’d take sometimes 

fifty-cent pieces which I’d leave 


I’d slip the over-sized jackets
off their hangers 

wear them 

in the dark of the closet 

in the smell of his things
his shoes miles too big for me 

trying to steal into adulthood 


I’d skulk out
from my secret foray
a little daring thief sneaky guilty
fearful of being found out 

when he’d miss the pocket change
I’d be confronted
say too quick I don’t know 

what he meant 

blurt out I didn’t do that
which he never believed 

if only I’d hung those coats back 

the right way 

he’d let me go with warning
that I never heeded
I’d be back there in a week or so 

go through those pockets 

try on those sport jackets

grow much too slow into adulthood 

much too quick into guilt

The upstairs bedrooms in our family home had sizeable walk-in closets in each room. I wish I had that much closet space now. My closet here is so small that if I buy a new short or hoodie I have to get rid of one to make room for it 🙂 The closets had sliding doors. There was a time I wished they made the Enterprise door opening sound.

My Dad was a salesman with a nice collection of sports coats, suits & shoes. Nothing overly colourful mind you, all very sensible & well made, even if off-the-rack. He balanced dressing ‘well enough to get your customers respect’ with dressing so well ‘your customers think you are taking them for a ride.’ The piece accurately describes what sometimes happened – me going through the pockets.

In fact I was a bit of a snoop & would got through various cupboards to see what I might find. Once I found a little black, hard plastic box with lids. One had a Monday to Sunday calendar with golden screws glues on to each day, two on Saturday. I didn’t get the joke then. Another box held a reclining female nude with salt & pepper shakers for boobs. Only one hole in each. A plaque said ‘you never know what you’re going to get.’


I did get caught & learned not to take all the loose change 🙂 I did try on his jackets & shoes. When I was old enough for the jackets to fit me I sure wasn’t willing to wear them. My taste is clothes never meshed with his. Though when I visited home after his death I did pick out two of his leather jackets that fit me & still wear them occasionally. There was no loose change in the pockets.


previous Brown Betty posts:

Man With A Past 1

When I Was A Young Boy

Home (not of the brave)


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.