By Mary Margret Daughtridge
Do you know we still have snow on the ground? I’m not talking about the dirty piles shoved into corners of parking lots. I mean honest-to-God white patches still dotting north-facing hillsides and sprinkled in groves of trees. That’s just wrong. Winter has used up its quota of fridigidity, and it we’re not through the first full week of January.
Cold weather comes to North Carolina. It does. Residents will need the complete complement of winter coats, hats, scarves, boots, and gloves. But really cold weather doesn’t last. Many years, the thermometer dips into the teens only three or four times, and then only at night.
As a result, winter coats, hats, scarves, boots, etc, rarely wear out. The thrifty shopper learns to buy winter-wear in the most classic, the least fashion-forward styles she can find.
But here’s a mystery. Things get old and saggy and grubby— without leaving the closet. When I moved, I threw out two pairs of boots that had languished in the back of the closet since time immemorial. They had dry-rotted.
I did move my hunter green parka, even though it was showing it’s age. On the three or four occasions I had worn it in the last five years, I had thought I should replace it. But the next day the temperature would go back into the upper forties and fifties, and the parka would go back in the closet, and that would be that.
Well, as everyone with a TV knows, winter arrived prematurely this year, before the calendar—much less procrastinators like me—got ready. December 18, the winter storm that eventually blanketed the entire East Coast dumped five inches of snow on us. And I had to wear that hunter green parka every day. For three weeks.
Pressed into service when long past its prime, my green parka no longer shed rain or stopped wind. Its fiberfill had lost its loft.
Just not-going outdoors will work for a day or two, but not weeks. When my favorite catalog offered fifty percent off plus free shipping, I acted. The new parka arrived yesterday. It’s a thoroughly impractical cream color--like Pigpen in the old Peanuts comics, I can raise a cloud of dust in a snow storm--but stylistically indistinguishable from the retiree.
It weighs half as much, and is constructed of materials that hadn’t even been invented when the old coat was made. It is warm. We will see, in fifteen years, if it too will have to be given an honorable burial in the Goodwill bin, or if it can go for twenty.
So fess up. What are you clinging to that’s past its prime, because you might get more one use out of it? What you can’t let go of because of sentiment? Or are you like my ruthlessly organized friend who weeds her closets at the change of every season?