Friday, April 5, 2013

My Blue Coat

Bell ringing for the Salvation Army wearing
my blue coat. The red spring Santa cap
is optional.
It's time to put away my winter coats and it got me thinking about my blue coat ... 

The first World Synchronized Skating Championship was held in Minneapolis in 2000 and I was one of the volunteers. There are always vendors at skating competitions, usually companies selling skating dresses, skating jewelry, and skating knick-knacks.

One of the vendors at the competition was a Canadian company called Blue Skies <no longer in business> and they sold team uniforms (dresses, warm-ups, outerwear). I might not have taken a second look at them except for the cobalt blue coat that they were selling. It's the one color that always draws my eyes.

It was a beautiful long coat made of fleece with black trim on the collar, cuffs and at the bottom edge of the bodice. It had a hood with black fur and a matching scarf.

I had to have that coat. But Blue Skies wasn't the type of retailer that lets you buy off the rack. Every coat was custom-made for the individual. They measured the length of my arms, not just for the sleeves, but to determine the best location for the pockets. (So, when I put my hands in my pockets, the finger tips touched the bottom of the pocket.)

When they told me the cost, I almost said no. I can't remember the exact cost, but it was more that I had paid for any piece of clothing. The sales person told me that I should think of the coat as an investment and that I would most likely wear it for several years.

If they would have told me that I would still be wearing this coat 13 years later, I'm sure I would have laughed. Who wears a coat for 13 years? But I certainly have gotten my money's worth.

This coat seems to be indestructible. Since it's made from fleece fabric (which is recycled material), it's washable and I usually wash it once or twice a winter. Color has never faded. Since the coat isn't bulky, it packs well for those summer months when I travel for skating competitions. (What? You put your winter coats away for the season?)

I sometimes wonder if my skating peeps roll their eyes when they see me wearing my blue coat each season. If the fabric was worn away anywhere on it - like the cuffs or the collar - maybe I would replace it, but it looks the same as it did on that first day.

I was at a skating competition a few weekends back, but not as a judge. I was on the other side of the rink as the aunt of one of the competitors. Of course, I knew most of the officials there and stopped to chat with them later. One of them told me that she had spotted me across the rink - "I'd recognize that blue coat anywhere."

1 comment:

Lynne Hartke said...

Did you get more money as a bell ringer because of your fantastic coat?

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