Today I shipped off my blue Patagonia puffball coat for repair or replacement. Jim bought me that coat for Christmas in 2007. I kept saying I did not need one. I thought I could layer. I thought he spent too much money on gear. When I told him it was unnecessary because I could always steal his, that was the clincher. It rapidly became my favorite coat.
I wore that coat on ski trips in the Wallowas, I wore it under gortex to stay warm when we lift skied. It fit nicely in my camel back on mountain bike rides and hikes. I wore it to work, I wore it in the car, I wore it to take out the compost at night. It got wadded up into a ball and stuffed in the bottom of my sleeping bag on river trips to be pre-warmed on chilly mornings. I even, to my daughter’s chagrin, wore it over my fancy duds when I went lobbying in Washington DC.
When Jim got sick, I started swimming in the early mornings. Moscow is cold in the morning. The blue coat kept me warm and I could hide my morning hair under the hood. Jim’s walks in the woods or in the neighborhood got slower and slower. The coat kept me warm. I wore the blue coat the night Jim died. It was cold in my house at 2:00 in the morning, and I draped it over me as I tried to nap on the couch.
It has been a long winter in Moscow since Jim died. I’ve worn the blue coat constantly. It is the only thing I have that is remotely as warm as Jim’s arms. The zipper split a couple of winters ago, and last month the pocket ripped out. Jim always bought high quality gear for their return or replace policies. I could hear him telling me to send it in. But, it was cold. I couldn’t part with it. It got used a lot in rainy OR over Spring Break.
But, it is officially Spring now. The 3 inches of snow forecast to fall last night didn’t. Jasper headed out the door in shorts for track practice today. My daffodils are up. I had an unexpected break this afternoon and got both vehicles in to get their snow tires off. Today I shipped off the blue Patagonia coat for repair or replacement. On the form they ask if the item has sentimental value if they cannot repair or replace. Well…duh.