Day 25 of below zero temperatures. Why am I warm when the thermometer is negative?
Mrs Murphy’s Coat.
Here in the not so Green Mountains of Vermont we surmise the temperature has not broken over freezing for more than a month. The blustery days and frigid nights make going outside only for the hardy. Or those with the right gear. I am blest to have the warmest best coat ever.
My best friend growing up happened to live next door. Whether she was my best friend because she lived next door was never the point. She was with my family so often my Mom called her another daughter. Our houses were so close I knew when their television was on in their living room.
Only our driveway separated us. In winter, I would hear Mrs Murphy, who worked at a neighboring school system, shoveling early – this was my sign there was school despite the snow. I would get up and look out my window and see her in her signature long black coat clearing the walk.
On a winter afternoon, I may catch her coming home bundled in her black full length coat after a day of teaching. Shoveling, sledding and neighbors filled those childhood winter days in Malden. We prayed for snow to be let out of school. We lived through the major storms of the late Sixties and The Blizzard of ’78. The memories of sledding down the sidewalk and later after the Blizzard skiing down our unplowed street reign supreme. (Boston’s recent snowstorm may surpass my childhood with snow, but never in my mind.)
Then, Liz and I grew up. She moved to England and her parents downsized to Cape Cod. Yet, Liz and I always stayed connected. As did our family connections, often as not, meeting at her parents on Cape Cod.
On one of those visits to see her and her parents, Mr and Mrs Murphy were finalizing their long term plan of winters in Florida, Mrs Murphy set aside some her belongings for me as she planned for her new life. There on top was her black wool coat with black leather trim. Not something I would ever buy for the few days it was truly needed on long walks to the T or the truly brutal winter days. Yet, I scooped up this beautiful hand me down for the treasure it was.
My long black coat with the kangaroo pocket is keeping me warm and toasty. This winter, twenty years later, I have worn it more than ever. Is it the endless compliments I get on the ankle length warmth? I think not though I never fail to tell the story when I do get compliments. Is it the fact I do not need to carry a purse due to the size of the pocket? Definitely not, though that is quite a handy feature. Perhaps it is the price? No, I love a bargain but this goes beyond the non-existent price tag.
I am clear my love of the coat is the warmth the wool provides – both physically and emotionally – linking me to a history and to those that love me.
Thank you Mrs Murphy!
Wondering what keeps you all warm on these cold days.