Jefferson Weaver • Pajamas, Bare Feet and the Wisdom of Jeremiah Johnson

Jefferson Weaver

A deadbeat young mother goat and a few other needs sent us on a semi-emergency trip to town the other night.

It was a Saturday, which means dress codes are not enforced at Valhallasboro,  plus the trip was intended to be a quick one. The time from concept to execution was perhaps five minutes, too. As such, Miss Rhonda was wearing pair of heavy flannel pajamas that at first glance  looked like a normal winter outfit of the kind girls describe as “cute.” The addition of a jacket made the outfit even less pajamaish, and besides, my bride always tries to look put together when she has to leave the farm.

I usually attempt to civlize, but the combination of goats, horses, mud, dogs and other issues that forced the urgent urban odyssey had caused me to no longer care very much about many of God’s creations, much less my appearance after a long, bloody, muddy, stinking Saturday better suited to February than the day after my birthday. For the record, I was wearing mud-spattered work pants, disreputable and possibly decomposing boots, and a shirt best described as sad. There may have been hay and leaves in my beard.

As is inevitable when we didn’t look our best, we ran into approximately 2,472 people who knew us, wanted to meet us, or wanted to talk. The fact that we had the bulldog puppy along didn’t help any desires of anonymity. We were both a little embarrassed, regardless of the circumstances.

Sometimes things happen, and you have no choice but to run to the store in pajamas, or in my case, wearing a lot of mud. A number of years ago, I was hip-deep covering a hurricane (literally, at least part of the time) when I spotted a fellow about my age in knee boots, pajamas, a bathrobe and an umbrella walking down the street in Beaufort at 1 in the morning.
Needless to say, I was curious, and I was about to offer him a ride when he turned a corner and went into a convenience store. Following him inside (my wardrobe was far more practical) I asked why he was out in a Category Two hurricane after midnight with rising floodwaters flowing down the street.

Turned out his wife was extremely pregnant, and she was desirous of a specific type of ice cream. I offered to give him a ride, but he thanked me and said, no, the water was rising in front of the bed and breakfast where they were spending the weekend. He was concerned that the blessed event might occur that very night, and he could cover the ground faster than one could drive.

A pregnant, ice cream-craving wife in a hurricane would definitely qualify as a reason to head out in public wearing pajamas, but it’s one of the few acceptable reasons.

I do not expect everyone to be dressed ready for a wedding or a funeral at all times, by any means, although I try to at least be “put together” even if I’m dashing to the feed store or hardware emporium between the trapline and chores. Many of you can testify to this, having seen me with a pistol on my hip, a hammer on my belt, and mud in my beard on a Saturday at Pierce and Co. I’ll usually make an effort to wipe off some of the blood and mud and crud, just out of respect to others. It’s not like I’m wearing a t-shirt and shorts (although if you wish to do so, that’s your business).

But there are those among us with different ideas.

I saw one particular couple the other day wearing the exact same pajamas they were wearing the day before. I noticed simply because they were each wearing the shirt or pants that matched the other spouse’s opposing garment. On day one, I saw them in a grocery store, and on day two we were at a discount store. Again, I guess that might have qualified as cute, or perhaps it was some sort of testimony to the depth of their love for each other. Maybe the washing machine was broken. Honestly, I had to wonder whether or not they had jobs, or were maybe financially secure enough to wear the same matching mismatched pajamas in public two days in a row as a fashion statement.

I repeat, outside of an emergency I do not understand the entire concept of publicly wearing clothing designed for sleeping, regardless of the level of cuteness, spousal solidarity or cost involved. I’d be embarrassed.

Of course, it’s possible that folks just aren’t ashamed of anything any more. Comfort and immediate gratification have replaced a lot of the principles drilled into me as a kid, values I have tried to hone to a fine edge and share as an adult.

I do not claim to understand the societal norms of a time when young women sell pictures of their feet via the internet to young men who can’t work because they applied for disability after pulling a muscle getting off the couch after playing video games for 30 hours straight (I am not speaking in hyperbole.)

I realize I am firmly entrenched in the standards and values that are long since outdated, but the concept of wearing PJs in public is beyond me. I have given up on my John the Baptist in the wilderness quality tirades on the travesty and tragedy of flip-flops. To borrow a phrase, it grinds my grits the wrong way when I see men or women wearing flip flops in a funeral home or the courthouse. Even worse are those who wander barefooted into grocery stores (and once even into a mid-priced restaurant).

I have no problem with bare feet in the right time or place, but I also know what my feet get into at said times and in said places. I have no desire to track such into someone’s business, home or dinner.

I just don’t understand. All I can figure is  that the plandemic of several years back made it easy for people to be lazy and slovenly, and they liked it so much they stayed that way.

I am a huge fan of the movie Jeremiah Johnson. In one scene, after a spell of particularly bad luck, Johnson’s friend Del Gue  suggests the hero “go down to a town” for a while. Jeremiah, his eyes on the far blue mountains, says simply, “I’ve been to a town, Del.” His expression says it all – Jeremiah would rather take his chances on being scalped, eaten or freezing to death in a beaver slough than deal with the “civilized” world.

Between pajamas in public, flip-flops in the courthouse and bare feet in the grocery store, I know the feeling all too well. I too have been to a town—and there’s too many people in pajamas.

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About Jefferson Weaver 1875 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at