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Old Blue

{From the 2024 Spring Magazine}

Written & Photographed By George Hanstein 

I admit it. I have way too many coats. I have dress coats, casual coats, and work coats. All materials and weights are represented in my closet. I have one coat, however, that is very special to me. It started out as a navy blue Carhartt winter work coat and it has served me well.  I call it "Old Blue.” 

She is my very favorite. 

Old blue is over 10 years old, very faded, has frayed sleeves, and quite a few holes, and the lining is ripped in some places. Old Blue has clearly seen better days. When it's time to plow, cut or split firewood, work on my car, or any other project around the old homestead, however, I reach for "Old Blue.” Over the years that coat has formed to me and when I throw it on, it is like getting a good hug and it has never let me down. 

The other day, the zipper-pull broke. Not in a way that I could MacGyver it either. This was a real break. I couldn't zip Old Blue at all.

I should mention that I am the kind of person that gets attached to certain objects. I have carried the same pocketknife, every single day, for over 40 years for example. I still have a Levi jacket that I bought in High School for $4.99 brand new. So, you can imagine that this zipper break made my stomach turn, just a little. I really don't understand why I form these connections with certain objects, but I do. My first thought was to take Old Blue to a tailor for repair. After a quick examination of Old Blue, I realized that was an absurd idea. I would be too embarrassed to carry a faded blue rag in and ask for a repair. The tailor would certainly think I was homeless. As I started towards the garbage can with a heavy heart, I decided to look online to see if I could repair the zipper. Sure enough, there are lots of videos showing how to replace zipper-pulls. I immediately went on Amazon and ordered the necessary parts. The parts arrived today for the very fair price of $12.00. Certainly, more than Old Blue is worth in dollars. 

After about a half hour of cursing and grumbling, Old Blue was as good as new. Well, "good as new" may be a little stretch. Actually, a huge stretch, but she is long as it isn't in public. 

Well, I think I'll throw on Old Blue and go bring in some firewood now. I could use an Old Blue hug anyway.