Argyle Memories


I like argyle as a concept. There’s something about the diamonds in the pattern, the crossing lines, the mathematics, that feels right. Argyle reminds me of Fibonacci series, another pattern I’m fond of, although it’s not widely available from woolen mills.

But my strongest feelings for argyle now are not abstract. Not all that long ago I had a very sad Christmas. To avoid sadness I went to a luxury hotel. Not an overwhelmingly pure or spiritual choice, but the best I could come up with. This hotel was in Oahu. The Halekulani. Tall, white, directly on the blue, blue bay. Full of families from Japan on holiday.

Golf is big in Japan. Apparently so are golf sweaters. One humid afternoon I wandered into the gift shop, looking for distraction, and among the postcards of surfing pigs, and pastel bikinis, and piles of small anonymous things in lucite boxes, I saw a gray and pink cashmere argyle sweater. Like the one on the dog above, almost exactly. I bought it. Although I am not a puppy.

Later that night, Christmas Eve, Santa Claus came to the Halekulani in an outrigger canoe. We all gathered round and cheered him onto the beach. The Santa regalia made it a little difficult to climb out of the outrigger, but the hotel staff helped him. No disasters. Then a choir of 30 small girls in identical red velvet dresses with full skirts sang us Christmas carols as we drank on the patio. They stood under the palm trees, back to the sky and the ocean. They sang well. The sun set exactly as you might imagine. Children’s voices can sometimes sound like magic creatures singing. I don’t know why.

Somehow all of this helped. I find the way that one minute Santa arrives in a canoe, which no matter how you tell the story is still absurd, and the next minute rows of little girls with long hair in bows sing Ave Maria, which even if you are an atheist is exquisite, very comforting. Somehow it got muddled up with argyle. Like the smell of sunscreen does with summer. Except that makes sense, and argyle and Santa in a canoe is kind of a stretch. Sometimes a pattern has extra meaning, and our lack of choice in the matter seems fitting to me.

Thank you Lindy, for your question.

9 Comments

  • 08/28/09
    8:12 am

    Reply

    materfamilias said...

    I love this kind of clothes writing which isn't really about clothes at all but about life. Except that of course clothes are about life as well, which is what you articulate brilliantly here.
    I miss school Christmas concerts when occasionally the voices would turn trite carols into perfect uplifting moments.

  • 08/28/09
    9:51 am

    Reply

    Jan said...

    This is a nice story – I like it very much (and I like Christmas and Christmas music too, even though I am not a believer).

    Have you ever worn the sweater?

  • 08/28/09
    10:12 am

    Reply

    Maureen@IslandRoar said...

    Santa in a canoe? How cool is that?
    I can see how that and the "Ave Maria," which can be so beautiful irregardless of one's beliefs, could be restorative. And I agree, there is something about argyle.
    Really nice post.

  • 08/28/09
    6:31 pm

    Reply

    QueenBeeSwain said...

    the ave maria and argyle surf santa made me laugh and put a golf-ball sized lump in my throat all at once- thank you for sharing :)

    happy weekend!

    kHm

  • 08/29/09
    5:13 am

    Reply

    Imogen Lamport said...

    Isn't it interesting how a pattern can bring such memories rushing back.

  • 08/29/09
    6:02 am

    Reply

    Buckeroomama said...

    Santa in a canoe… how will I ever explain that to my children?

    I appreciate argyle… just not on myself. :)

  • 08/31/09
    10:00 am

    Reply

    C.J.M. said...

    I love this story. I love how associations with things often have very little to do with the object itself, but will forever be inextricably tied with it. Great great great.

  • 09/01/09
    6:24 am

    Reply

    the Preppy Princess said...

    Ah Miss LPC, we understand the 'sad Christmas syndrome,' very well; your description of events surrounding yours brought back memories about the way oddities of the season can seem to explode when one is not enjoying the holiday so very much.

    Love that argyle, and love that you have the same look in two-legged apparel!
    tp

  • 09/01/09
    7:31 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Princess. I would not wish to share the sad Christmas syndrome. Hope we all find the antidote should we suffer from this diagnosis.

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