A Tale of Two Strides

We were mates in ‘Seventy one, Rod, John and I
Our families had oodles of fun together,
We were Principals of schools on the Wild West Coast,
– Renowned for its inclement weather.

Though Queenstown had most of what I desired
Buying trousers was impossible of course,
A downside for having legs endlessly long,
Launceston offered a reliable source.

It just so happened that a chance did arise
To purchase two new pairs of strides,
Principals were to meet in Launceston soon,
I could check out Fletcher Jones on the side.

Joy gave her instructions to Rod, John and I
In words unambiguously clear,
Bill had to return with two pairs of strides
Or she’d have a piece of our ears!

Five hours to Launceston via Burnie of course
Meant we all had to leave early morn,
The meeting seemed overly laboured and long,
We felt rather tired and forlorn

An hour in the pub replenished our spirits
Trouser purchases had to be made
FJs were helpful in choosing the size
And colours not gaudy or staid!

I tried on several which seemed to be right
Selected two and the trousers were bought.
Shops were closing it was becoming dark
Mission accomplished, or so we had thought!

Queenstown loomed large in the wee early hours,
Our spirits could not have been better.
I walked inside with my ‘dacks ‘in a bag,
Instructions carried out to the letter.

Joy was singularly unimpressed
By the colour of the ‘dacks’ I had bought.
“Baby-cack brown and an olive green,
Were ridiculous colours!” she thought.

I sheepishly decided to try them on,
Confused by the choices we’d made.
The legs were too short, the waist too wide
I felt absolutely and totally betrayed!

Could the wrong pants have been placed in the bag?
Could such poor choices have really occurred?
How much could I really rely on my mates?
What could be implied or inferred?

Joy decided on a direct course of action:
Launceston shops were open on Saturday morn,
It would take four hours across the lakes,
We’d depart Queenstown at dawn.

By five o’clock we were Launceston bound,
The boys were asleep in the back.
We made good time over highland roads,
Little more than a country track!

At 9.30 (am) we presented at Fletcher Jones
Who assured us the error was mine
“Perhaps Sir, could try them on,”
Confident that all would be fine!

I stepped outside the change room door
But was immediately turned on my heel
What Joy said was perfectly true
The trousers were something unreal!

I tried on trousers like nothing before
Until we were perfectly happy,
This time we weren’t leaving the store
With trousers referred to as ‘crappy!’

We began our return to the Wild West Coast,
The new trousers secure in the car.
Joy was happy the swap had been made,
They’re the most costly trousers by far!

How could three grown, intelligent men,
Choose such unfortunate strides?
I’ll have to switch my advisers
When this current trauma subsides.

The story of trousers is still being told
Though forty plus years have past
Whenever we meet the tale is retold,
Though never the same as the last!



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