Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Old Red Sweater

As I puttered around the house this morning, I picked up my old red sweater which I had carelessly tossed on the armchair the night before.  It is a ratty old sweater, but like many ratty old clothes, it is to my body what comfort food is to my mouth.  Familiar.  Pleasurable.  Comforting. 

I obtained the sweater in 1984, when my young daughter won a $100 Hudson's Bay gift certificate for me in a Mother’s Day colouring contest.  We lived in a very small town in the Northwest Territories, a town with a little general store, a tiny Bay, one hamburger take-out joint, one eat-in restaurant, one motel, some government offices,  the college where I taught, and about 750 people not counting the students temporarily in residence.  As any serious shopping required a flight out to Edmonton or an excruciatingly long drive on rutted gravel roads to Yellowknife,  and we had been in the North for nearly a year, I used it to replenish my rapidly depleting and somewhat boring closet.  I don’t remember what else I bought, but I do remember falling in love with the bright red sweater.

As I walked down the hall, sweater in hand, towards the bedroom this morning, I noticed a seam under the arm that needs mending and a button that is loose.  A seamstress I am not, and mending usually means the rag bag or perhaps a donation to the thrift store,  but the thirty year old sweater will be mended.  Too sloppy to wear for going out, it is my go-to sweater when I am chilly in the house.  It is warm, it is comfy, and it is full of memories.  And, as I hung it up, I noticed it is a medium – a size I haven’t worn for a very long time – which really makes me smile as it isn’t the least bit too small for me.  

I love my old red sweater.   I love its cheery colour.  I love that it still fits me without the least discomfort.  I love that it has lasted over thirty years.  And, most of all,  I love that it was a gift from my child who coloured so carefully in the hopes of winning something for her mama. 

The old things in life are often the best :  old friends, old dogs, old recipes, old sweaters. 


Marie said...

What a delightful story and a great read to start the day, thanks Jean.
Memories,...... from the corner of my mind, remember that song? lol

Sylvia said...

I really enjoyed this story Jean. It made me feel as warm as your red sweater does you. I still miss you every writer's meeting but I'm so glad you are still exploring your considerable writing talents in a way you most enjoy. Sylvia