Bell bottoms, suspenders, and Geritol

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

I’ve noticed that bell bottoms seem to be making a bit of a comeback. Frankly, that terrifies me. No, seriously, that is truly

Bell bottoms were a big deal in my teenage years. From flared legs which weren’t so bad to bell bottoms so big they were called
elephant ears; those things were all the rage.

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I was extremely glad when that cultural fashion bomb eventually died and went away. How bad was it? I made a solemn vow at
the time to never wear bell bottoms again. That’s a vow I have every intention of keeping.

But all those years ago, bell bottoms weren’t the only fashion fad to walk the halls of my high school. For whatever reason – and
if memory serves me, it had something to do with our school colors – it was a big deal to wear red overalls or wide red

But I wasn’t one of the cool kids. The overalls were too expensive, and the big red suspenders reminded me too much of a clown. Cool or not, this kid wasn’t dressing like that if he could help it.

Back then I was more apt to wear a pair of Levi’s sans a belt of any kind. These days, life has changed a good bit, and dressing
for success requires a belt to be worn with khakis, slacks, and suit pants.

Of late, I’ve noticed a strangely weird fact of life. Somehow in all the intervening years, I’ve begun to get older. I’m not ancient,
mind you, even though the seventeen-year-old at my house likes to say I’m too old to be his parent.

While he may be on to something, I have come to the unfair conclusion that I am quickly entering the suspender age. I don’t yet own a pair and intend to avoid that purchase for as long as I can. But the time may be coming quicker than I’d like.

Somehow, a belt just doesn’t work as well as it once did. Heaven help me, whether walking down the street or up to the pulpit, it
seems like I am hitching up my pants with every other step.

O, the indignity of it all.

If you are my age or older, you may be nodding in understanding and solidarity. We older guys need to stick together.

However, if you are much younger, you might be a bit puzzled at this or better yet, snickering at the little idiosyncrasies of the old
guys in your midst. If so, I get it – I once most likely laughed, too.

But don’t laugh for too long because the years will catch up to you too. In the meantime, don’t worry, I’m investing in Geritol – I
plan to be around long enough to welcome you into this erstwhile existence – and if you’re nice I might even share some of my

I hope you’re smiling!

“I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

Les Ferguson, Jr., is minister at Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him at