A person’s clothes tell a story about them. It isn’t something we think about while getting dressed, but it is one way we are remembered. A wardrobe paints the scene in our memories with the person we miss.
Allow me to paint a picture in your mind of the one and only, Mr. Adam Czech. No images today, just words. Just as Adam would do.
Depending on your relationship to Adam, you would see him in one of his signature outfits. If you saw him more than anyone else, you were a co-worker. Monday through Thursday he was in a short sleeved polo or long sleeved, button down dress shirt with flat front dress pants. On Friday, he’d cut back and relax a little, sporting that polo or button down with a dark denim pair of Levi jeans. A few times a month, you would have seen him looking very dapper. A sport coat on and one of his dozen ties, laying neatly over a wrinkle free dress shirt for an important meeting with the board, a politician, or an event sponsored by his employer.
If you sat in the press area with Adam, covering a local professional or collegiate sports team, you remember him the exact same way. Many of his fellow Associated Press writers will recall Adam pretending to be warm when the press box windows were open during a cold Twins baseball game. He usually forgot a coat (even in subzero January temperatures) and would never admit to being cold. Adam would share in a quick text, something along the lines of “shoot, forgot coat, windows open, chilly.” On a hot day, of course, the quick text was about the free cookie ice cream sandwiches he got. (His love for food is for another place and time, but reporting what he ate at the stadiums was a favorite past time.)
Many peers who blogged about football with Adam, never met him in person. They were friends from all over the country through Twitter and email. If they were lucky enough to meet him, it was at Lambeau Field. They will picture him wearing an All Green Bay Packers or Cheesehead TV shirt with his name on the back. They saw and knew his face from the few photos he posted to social media of himself with his sons.
Adam did not reserve his green and gold attire solely for Wisconsin or sitting around at home. He proudly shared who his favorite football team was wherever he went, especially back home, deep in Minnesota Vikings country. His mom will tell you how the Packers winter coat he wore as an adult, was from his godfather in the sixth grade. He proudly wore that Starter jacket to every freezing football game we went to. His few Packers sweatshirts were from middle school and high school. Throughout the years together, I helped expand his Packers merchandise collection. They are in mint condition and saved for our sons. Some with very special memories attached to them and were put into handmade quilts for us. Adam held on to things and took care of them.
If you were in Adam’s hunting party, you will also remember his simple gear. In his beginning years, he and his mom shared an orange hunting coat and wool pants from his grandfather. Adam was 12, it was the only coat he ever wore. The coat was so heavy it gave her a backache, and eventually when the hunting season was extended to nine days she bought her own coat. Adam rarely wore gloves hunting (or ever), he would say “that is what my pockets are for.” If it happened to be a colder than usual fall, his parents had an extra pair of gloves to borrow. He kept his hunting boots from middle school with his hunting gear back home, they still fit and he rarely wore boots anyway. One Christmas, his parents gave him a new pair of winter boots. The only hunting gift I ever recall Adam receiving. He didn’t need or want much.
I was really excited when he brought those winter boots home. Until that year, he would shovel snow in his work shoes, rarely with gloves on, but usually, well sometimes, a hat or earmuffs on his head. I would scold him. Not only was it too cold to dress like that, but it also ruined one of the three pairs of shoes he had every winter! Oh, did I forget to mention? He only had three pairs of shoes and one pair of sandals. Grey tennis shoes, black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, and a tan pair of sandals for the summer.
Family and friends saw Adam the same way, with one exception. He had a collection of heavy metal concert t-shirts, several with disturbing graphics on them. Our oldest son, Edward, is a little more sensitive and I made the mistake of putting one of Adam’s favorite concert shirts from a band Ghost in the middle of his blanket. There were several pictures of Adam and Edward with this shirt, and I wanted these blankets to hold memories. Reggie on the other hand got his green Still Kickin shirt in the middle of his blanket, very appropriate for him and not frightening at all! Often, Edward (age six) will ask about the ghosts and skulls. I don’t mind. It gives us an opportunity to talk about his daddy. They both love to know the story behind a shirt in their Daddy-blankets warming their bed.
My favorite scene painted with Adam is him in one of two outfits. These signature items meant we were on a date. Everything green and gold for our yearly Lambeau Field date. Depending on the level of class for the special date he planned, he’d wear his sport coat, perhaps a tie, a nice belt, black suspenders if it was a wedding, and a dark pair of pants.
I can see him. I can hear him exclaim every time how beautiful I looked, how lucky he was. I can smell his cologne from our first kiss and last date together.
Picture after picture you will recognize this big guy in the back with the goatee and one of his signature outfits. These are the stories his clothes tell. The scenes painted in your memory and mine. The ones I hope are never forgotten and will continue to share.
I was so lucky to know him and the stories his clothes tell.