As I placed a bag onto the kitchen table, my mom asked, “What do you have there?”

“Well,” I explained to her and my sisters, “I was hoping you could offer me some advice, but you can’t laugh.” I then pulled out the contents of the bag – two knit sweaters – and said, “I’ve tried repeatedly, but I can’t get the stains out of these sweaters. Do you think we could turn them into rags?”

In spite of my request that they not laugh, guffaws filled the room. “What’s so funny?” asked I.

“They’re sweaters,” answered one of the hyenas. “You can’t clean with sweaters.”

Although I considered asking just where this rule was written, I instead said, “I don’t like throwing something away if I can still get use from it.”

“You’ve had those sweaters for 10 or 15 years,” my mom said, “you’ve gotten your use out of them.”

Although I considered correcting her and explaining that it had been more like 10 or 12 years, I instead said, “I guess you’re right.”

So, I took her advice and threw the sweaters into the garbage. But it pained me to do so. Just at it had pained me a couple months earlier to throw away a gray knit sweater that featured a huge hole in the front. And just as it had pained me to throw away a pair of pajama bottoms that featured huge holes in the backside.

Actually, saying goodbye to the pajama bottoms inflicted the most pain because they comprised one-half of my favorite pair of pjs. What’s more, I had gotten only five or six years out of them. But one morning a week or so before Christmas, I discovered a hole in said pajama bottoms.

Although I considered tossing them in the trash, I realized the folly in that plan. After all, they were clean and the hole wasn’t that big. So, I wore them a few more days. Of course, by that point, the small hole had morphed into three larger holes on the portion of the pajama bottoms that once covered my bottom.

Nonetheless, it was hard to part with the pj bottoms. In fact, I’ve held onto the pajama top out of nostalgia and because I don’t like throwing something away if I can still get use from it.

Hmm. Wonder if we could turn the pajama top into rags?

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.