The Yellow Shirt

The yellowShirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets

Trimmed in black thread and snaps up the

Front.  It was faded from years of wear,

But still in decent shape.  I found it in

1963 when I was home from college on Christmas

Break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom

Intended to give away..

‘You’reNot taking that old thing, are you?’ Mom said

When she saw me packing the yellow shirt.

‘I wore that when I was pregnant with your

Brother in 1954!’

‘It’s justThe thing to wear over my clothes during art

Class, Mom.  Thanks!’  I slipped it

Into my suitcase before she could object.

The yellow shirt became a part of my college

Wardrobe.  I loved it.

AfterGraduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved

Into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings

When I cleaned.

The nextYear, I married.  When I became pregnant, I

Wore the yellow shirt during big-belly

Days.  I missed Mom and the rest of my

Family, since we were in Colorado and they were

In Illinois ..  But, that shirt

Helped.  I smiled, remembering that Mother

Had worn it when she was pregnant, 25 years


ThatChristmas, mindful of the warm feelings the

Shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped

It in holiday paper and sent it to Mom.

When Mom wrote to thank me for her ‘real’ gifts,

She said the yellow shirt was lovely.  She

Never mentioned it again..

The nextYear, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom

And Dad’s to pick up some furniture.  Days

Later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I

Noticed something yellow taped to its

Bottom.  The shirt!

And so thePattern was set.

On ourNext visit home, I secretly placed the shirt

Under Mom and Dad’s mattress  I don’t know

How long it took for her to find it, but almost

Two years passed before I discovered it under

The base of our living-room floor lamp.

The yellow shirt was just what I needed now

While refinishing furniture.  The walnut

Stains added character.

In 1975 myHusband and I divorced.  With my three

Children, I prepared to move back to Illinois

…  As I packed, a deep depression

Overtook me.  I wondered if I could make it

On my own.   I wondered if I would

Find a job.  I paged through the Bible,

Looking for comfort.  In Ephesians, I read,

‘So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the

Enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all

Over, you will be standing up.’

I tried toPicture myself wearing God’s armor, but all I

Saw was the stained yellow shirt..  Slowly,

It dawned on me..  Wasn’t my mother’s love

A piece of God’s armor?  My courage was


UnpackingIn our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt

Back to Mother.  The next time I visited

Her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser


Meanwhile,I found a good job at a radio station.  A

Year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden

In a rag bag in my cleaning


SomethingNew had been added.  Embroidered in bright

Green across the breast pocket were the words ‘I


Not to beOutdone, I got out my own embroidery materials

And added an apostrophe and seven more


Now theShirt proudly proclaimed, ‘I BELONG TO PAT’S

MOTHER.’  But I didn’t stop there.  I

zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a

friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from

Arlington , VA.   We

enclosed an official looking letter from ‘The

Institute for the Destitute,’ announcing that

she was the recipient of an award for good


I wouldhave given anything to see Mom’s face when she

opened the box.  But, of course, she never

mentioned it..

Two yearslater, in 1978, I remarried.  The day of

our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a

friend’s garage to avoid practical jokers. After

the wedding, while my husband drove us to our

honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the

car to rest my head.  It felt lumpy.

I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in

wedding paper, the yellow shirt.  Inside a

pocket was a note:  ‘Read John

14:27-29.  I love you both,


That nightI paged through the Bible in a hotel room and

found the verses:  ‘I am leaving you with a

gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I

give isn’t fragile like the peace the world

gives..  So don’t be troubled or

afraid.  Remember what I told you: I am

going away, but I will come back to you

again.  If you really love me, you will be

very happy for me, for now I can go to the

Father, who is greater than I am.. I have told

you these things before they happen so that when

they do, you will believe in


The shirtwas Mother’s final gift.  She had known for

three months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig’s

disease.  Mother died the following year at

age 57.

I wastempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her

grave.  But I’m glad I didn’t, because it

is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she

and I played for 16 years.  Besides, my

older daughter is in college now, majoring in

art.  And every art student needs a baggy

yellow shirt with big pockets.

Faith is thepause between God’s plan and seeing it come to


We thank Darlene Quiring for sending this in! AWESOME! yellowshirts