May the true 'Salty Dog' win the 2012 race
(Talk of the Town photos courtesy The Susie Duncan Sexton Collection) Above, an aerial view of the old Blue Bell factory, clipped from a company newsletter.
By Susie Duncan Sexton
President Barack Obama qualifies for my vote to be sure! I supported Hillary Clinton in 2008; eventually "Barry" won my heart and most recently impressed me mightily with his acceptance speech at the 2012 DNC. However, I am open-minded enough to appreciate the poise, charm and good looks of Mitt Romney in spite of his "veep" choice. Both Paul and Mitt resemble paper dolls wearing crisp checkered shirts and waving at crowds daily… cute!
Daring to proffer a bit of advice, I cannot refrain from mentioning the former Massachusetts Governor's most glaring fashion faux pas…and I am 47% correct I believe. He is not one of…us! I shall concentrate upon the candidate's studied but unsuccessful casual look while campaigning across this nation. I strongly disapprove of his handlers' recommendations that he pace back and forth, microphone in hand, while attired in spanking deep blue, newly purchased jeans. I'll give a pass to his belts IF they did not originate from an animal's hide. "Costume" wise, the presidential candidate's fashion-plate status earns 5 stars on a scale of 10.
Blue jeans! I know blue jeans, and sir, those Levis, which you put on one leg at a time, rate as atrocious. They are too "brand new", too indigo, too starched, too "look at me, I am a third grade boy suffering humiliating judgmental stares while enduring pants my mom just bought me, and I'll be agonizingly tortured until they are broken in, and BTW, can you smell that fresh, just off the bolt, denim aroma, classmates?" Romney appears miserable, with a mildly noticeable grimace belying his movie star smile.
Conan O'Brien joked recently, as he directed television audiences to view a group photograph of the Romney clan, "Look at that crew…when they congregate for a family get-together, our nation surely experiences a khaki shortage." The handsome Romney gentlemen radiate KHAKI! However, IF the GOP nominee reads this column, my advice comes free of charge!
My grandfather and my dad respectively designed and manufactured garments -- which the world at large commenced, in the mid-forties all the way to present-day, to refer to as "Wrangler" jeans -- for a combined total of … say… a century? Growing up, I hardly ever wore Blue Bell's jeans…maybe toddler bib overalls a half dozen times…but I remorsefully admit that our family existed so immersed in and surrounded by pungently-odorous denim that I never considered blue jeans my outfit of choice. Not until celebrities such as a debonair Burt Reynolds introduced a "still trying to be youngish" Dinah Shore to the his/her look of collegiate type woolen blazers and groovy turtlenecks combined with provocatively slender-legged jeans, did I ever sit up and take notice. Also, hip-huggers nearly won me over, especially when bell-bottomed. That was a long ago and far away time; these days I am denim-garbed 'round the clock…like a jail matron…in properly initiated, SOFT denim shorts or pedal pushers or full-blown jeans with elasticized waists. For a more elegant look, when I absolutely need to dress up…I grab a pair of earrings, a frilly blouse, and remember to wear shoes…still sporting Wranglers in one form or another. Such pulchritude!
Romney is no more a cowboy than Larwill's native son/Wabash College's famous Lambda Chi/teacher/Academy Award winning Hollywood actor Dean Jagger who portrayed Mormon, Brigham Young. Nor can any voter for one second fathom Mitt as a blue-collar laborer or a guitar player or Marky Mark. I only wish I could advise the image-conscious non-dudey dude as he crisscrosses this great country trying to impress the "little" guy!
I sympathize with Mr. Romney's obvious discomfort in conveying a vote-worthy image of somebody he is not. I recall our local Blue Bell factory's brief journey into trendiness and the world of run-way fantasy, New York-Paris style. Right here in River City, Iowa…er, Columbia City, Indiana! This town hovered on the brink of Vogue-ish fame and fortune for a very brief moment in time. And my manager dad nearly lost his mind in his attempts to comply with a sudden demand for ………….. (drum-roll) "SALTY DOGS!"
A portion of the plant got revamped to create outrageously casual, faded, streaked, frayed, lived-in, white-washed/pre-washed (in pebbles!), over-the-hill, peg-legged, "used" looking, "barely blue" jeans. Post partial reconstruction of designated areas on certain floors, installation of monstrous and brutal washing machines, and revamping of tried and true sewing patterns and methods, the "SALTY DOG" rage exited as quickly as it had material-ized. Now, my father turned "blue" -- in the face of terrific losses in revenue.
Scouring this house for possible antiquated samples of that unfortunate Edsel-Jeans experiment -- still remaining from the crazed 1960s -- I can be of no help to my fellow boomer, Mitt. None to be found, or I would certainly ship "salty dogs" to the candidate via overnight Federal Express post-haste. My sister Sarah once sent Leonard Slye -- a.k.a. Roy Rogers (ironically hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio!) -- a pair of Wrangler jeans crafted in our local factory. Roy thanked her graciously with an 8" by 10" glossy of himself sitting atop his legendary horse, Trigger. Both the star and the beast provided autographs!
Therefore, in this remaining month of campaigning, let us hope that Ann Romney locates, in her laundry room, some credible pairs of well-worn, genuine, sincere, regular-person-jeans which Mitt might have earlier donned while working under his fleets of cars, fertilizing his seven lawns, or running alongside his pet canine, Seamus (tied to a Jeep roof), all the way to Canada! Watch out, Barack! All 99% of us might change "salty dogs" in midstream. "Say hello to our little friend" -- the accessible, down-to-earth, "Forever in Blue Jeans", non-aloof, yet spray-tanned President Mitt "1%" Romney!
FROM WIKIPEDIA -- "1919: The business (Hudson Overall Company) builds its first factory on the corner of South Elm Street (in Greensboro, North Carolina) and changes its name to Blue Bell Overall Company. Legend has it that a group of railroad workers who bought overalls at the Hudson store gave C.C. Hudson a bell, and after spending time in the factory, the bell — like everything else — became covered in blue denim dust, hence 'Blue Bell'."