why I wear salvation army clothes

I was tired of dressing up

to look “professional”

I had a job as a counselor

helping both the wealthy

and homeless



I was a counselor

helping people through tough times

pulling teens and adults

off drugs


wearing a tie and expensive clothing

was not my style

I felt it was a barrier with the poor

I went to the local salvation army store

I bought clothes for a dollar or two

things like well worn but colorful shirts

and  jeans that have been around awhile

I found hats that were fun to wear

(50 cents each on sale)



what happened surprised me

those who met with me for counseling

told me for the first time

after seeing many counselors

they felt they could be honest

and tell me everything —

they said they felt I really

understood how they felt



they told  friends

to come see me

and insist on seeing no other counselor



it appeared they wanted a counselor

who wore worn out clothes

who had been down and out

(and I really have had my share

of failures)

they felt I would not judge them



it’s funny how  other counselors

asked me if I was embarrassed

dressing as I did

some counselors offered

me money to buy better clothing

thinking I did not earn enough money  . . .

they   knew I saw people who were

not able to pay anything for services



more people, all races, all genders

came to me for counseling

other counselors I worked with

in my building could not understand

why  people wanted to see me

when, after all,

I looked like a poor loser



my  counseling friends

thought I was not being professional

I held my ground and told them

go to a salvation army store

and buy clothes and see how

comfortable others feel



but they walked away

shaking their head

feeling sorry for me



I still wear  salvation army clothes

my phone keeps ringing

now that I am retired without an office

I  use White Castle, Wendys

or McDonalds as offices to meet people

who call for help

and can’t find anyone else they can trust






Published by Jim Wortham

As a teen, wanted to live from writing poetry. Wrote several books, selling nationally. Hung out with readers throughout the United States. My writing has been on back burner. Now dusting off my desk and have my pen in hand. Hope you enjoy some of what I write.

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