The Blue Coat


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.

I will go swimming tomorrow morning. It will be cold at 5:15 am in Moscow. I will miss my blue coat. 

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3 Responses to The Blue Coat

  1. Nancy Nelson says:

    I bought myself and electric blue puffy coat this winter (not quite as good as being given one, but not so bad) and thought “This is the most perfect coat in the world.” (It came in tall, so the arms are really, really long.) I liked it so much, I bought one for Kate for Christmas (not in tall, though). She agrees, “It’s the most perfect coat in the universe” (even though ours don’t have hoods). She and I got David a dark puffy coat for his 50th birthday last month. Now, Amanda is the only one lacking a puffy coat (and I’ll get her one with really long arms like mine, but it will probably be next fall for her birthday).
    My favorite thing to do with my puffy coat is . . . put it over my knees like a lap blanket. It’s the only thing that can make my cold, knobby knees warm.

    Let us know when yours returns to you.

  2. Anne says:

    I found this blog quite by accident and good fortune. I too was widowed so can somewhat relate to your situation. I also am a repair seamstress where you sent your jacket. Glad you sent it in and can be warmed by both memory and coat. One widow to another.

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