I reckon that there are some folks that I really should thank for being there throughout my life, often protecting, and always keeping me covered. There are few things in our lives that transcend childhood, that are a constant thread that carries on throughout our lives. And so, these folks need some well deserved recognition for being there for me, and a whole lot of other folks, now for many decades. The people that I’m referring to, are the good folks at Levi Strauss and Co. Levi Strauss created and patented the world’s first blue jeans in 1873, and since then became a global apparel icon. From the very beginning, Levi Strauss and Co. has been very heavily involved in building a better world through hundreds of initiatives. But, my recognition is not for the company’s charity, or community involvement, but rather for the personal relationship that they have had with me. You see, I, like millions and millions of others, grew up in Levi’s. I have no recollection of when I put on my first pair, and probably won’t remember when I put my last, but I have been closer to Levi Strauss and Co. jeans, overalls and jackets, than I ever have been to my own family.
I was only around my family constantly for very brief periods during my life, but, from the little boy pushing cast iron and tin trucks over dirt piles, to the grown man approaching the twilight of his life, Levi’s have always been there for me. I have turned to Levi Strauss to care for me at work, and can’t begin to tell you how many times a bruise would have been a deep scratch, or open gash, had it not been for them. I have stuffed Levi Strauss pockets with insects, reptiles, money and all manner of other things. Their jeans were my choice to wear on dates, attend rodeos in, and when combined with a white cotton t-shirt, became my school uniform. Later in life, after wearing a suit all day, Levi Strauss comfort welcomed me home in the evenings, and on weekends became a main component of my construction gear.
I dressed my children in Levi Strauss, and now, they are doing the same with theirs. I’ve hemmed Levi’s, patched them, brushed them, embroidered them, and worn them long after they should have been recycled. I have worn them as I sweat in fields, milked in barns and shingled on scorching rooftops. I have worn Levi Strauss jeans inside snowsuits, over longjohns, and sometimes over nothing at all. I’ve owned them in ‘boot’, ‘slim’ and ‘bell’ styles, in tight, regular and baggy, and in blues, blacks and browns. Yep, to this very day, there’s something so familiar and comforting about slipping on jeans, t-shirt, boots and jean jacket. I think Levi Strauss and Co. created one of the first garments in history whose appeal is universal. Their clothing has transcended time and culture, and is solely responsible for creating ‘working man chic’. Whether a doctor, lawyer, teacher, social worker or forklift driver, when people slip on their Levi’s, they slip on a statement that acknowledges who and what they really are, not what their occupations are. Levi’s say to the world that the wearer is just an ordinary person, who has much in common with others and left their pretensions in a closet back at home.
Levi Strauss jeans make an accountant feel like a cowpoke, a cook feel like a carpenter, and a dog groomer feel like a gold miner. Heck, I even know of a few instances where they make a man feel like a woman, and a woman feel like a man. When I got to thinking real serious about it, I just could not think of another garment in North American history that has been so many things to so many people. From relaxation to work, from offices to parks, and from ranches to city centers, Levi Strauss has always been there for me, and for millions of other folks too, and I sure thank the company with all my heart. My Levi Strauss jeans have stood up to water, weather and work. I’m glad that they have always been around for me, and to be honest, I sure they hope that they always will be. In a world of corporate mergers, capital capsizing and organic re-organizations, Levi Strauss and Co. has been a business model that the public has come to trust. I honestly have no idea of who exactly owns and runs the company today, but whoever it is, I reckon that they seem to be doing a right fine job of it, and I sure hope they stay the course, far into the future.
So, in closing, to all the owners, staff and management of Levi Strauss and Co. throughout the last one hundred and thirty nine years, thank you all so very, very much. And, that thanks is not just from me. It is from entire generations before and after me, here in the Americas, and around the world. I want each of you, from Levi Strauss plant janitors, to head office big wigs, to know how truly grateful I am for the work that you have done, and continue to do. In a world of political and religious strife, of economic upheaval and of social breakdown, you have shone like a guiding star. You are each a valuable part of an international symbol of quality, integrity and stability – qualities that make great people, great companies and great nations. From the dirt piles of my past, to the one in my future, I will always be grateful for what Levi Strauss has been to me. Yep, that dirt smeared face child from so long ago is just a wrinkled reflection today, but still hanging off my belt is the greatest garment gift of the last two hundred years. Again, my honest and heartfelt thanks to all you wonderful ladies and gentlemen of Levi Strauss and Co.
Will’s thoughts prove that everybody has opinions, but he has way more than he should. From dogs that won’t stop barking, to the antics of his spouse, ‘Crazy Lady’, Will’s Thoughts will make you smile.