Sometimes you just have to let go. Say goodbye to an old friend. It is painful. There are few things I've had an emotional attachment to in my adult life. Few things I would grieve over and miss.
I would miss any piece of my cooking equipment, even the things I rarely use. My cameras are an extension of my body. I recently had to get rid of an old pair of hiking boots. Though the exterior was in good shape, the insides were worn and starting to fall apart. There are probably one or two other items I would dearly miss.
In 1996, I went grouse hunting in northern Minnesota. On a dreary day, too wet and dreary to hunt, I drove to a larger town. I went into one of those stores you find in farming and backcountry communities. A combination hardware, equipment, and everything else, from soup to nuts store.
I was wandering through the clothing section when I came upon the leather jacket pictured above. It was high quality, made in Canada, and priced two times lower than similar jackets in Chicago. I snatched it up.
I wore this jacket every fall, winter, and early spring since. I loved this jacket. I wore it everywhere, dressed up or down. The only time I wore something else was when the temperatures dipped to the single digits.
About two years ago, the lining started to tear. I patched it with duct tape. This year, the leather is dried out, it has some holes forming, and the lining no longer holds out the wind. I pondered having it repaired and reconditioned. Maybe I could get a few more falls and winters out of it. That would only put off the inevitable.
Through cold, rain, snow, sleet, and hail, and bright biting cold sunny days, this jacket protected me from the elements.
It fit well, even through weight gains and losses. It was comfortable, and in my mind, it looked good. It had pockets, plural, which for me is a real plus, as I tend to carry around quite a few things. It also had vented sleeves, so I could wear it in the woods while hunting.
The jacket also served as a pillow or partial blanket on long trips.
The jacket holds memories. Memories of the Northwoods and farmlands. The autumnal beauty of mother nature in the wild. The quiet of forest trails and placidness of lakes.
It is time to let go. I had a whimsical thought of burying the jacket up in those Northwoods. That would mean a twelve-hour drive, one way. Since I no longer own a car, it would be an expensive whimsy.
I will probably give it to a homeless person or shelter. The jacket can spend the rest of its time doing good for another person.
Goodbye old friend.
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