25 February 2012


Sometimes I'm not sure how we managed to keep warm when I was a teenager in the Mitten. We bought our coats for $50 at Meijer, and they were filled with some fluffy polyester filling. We layered on cotton sweatshirts underneath. I had an ancient pair of wool socks, and sometimes I wore those skiing, usually with other, regular pairs of cotton socks that made my ski boots nearly too tight to close. Our gloves were from Meijer, too, and there was nothing fancy about them, except maybe the fake leather strip across the palm that kept a tow-rope or shovel from destroying them.

Now I bundle in high-tech, wicking gear, and still the wind bites when I leave the shelter to cross-country ski back down to the parking lot. Still my fingers are numb inside my expensive gloves.

On the drive back, I told my car-mates about the red bib-overall snow pants I used from the time we got back from Liberia until after college. They had belonged to my Uncle T., and at some point he left them at my grandma's house. Probably because they had a hole in the knee. I literally wore them for more than a decade, over those old-fashioned waffle-weave long-underwear pants, and over jeans or sweatpants, too.

I remember, one day, over at my friend D.'s house, as we were getting ready to go skiing, putting on the red bib-overall snow pants and looking in the mirror and saying, "I have hips!"

It's funny how that happens, sometime in those teenage years. It was the first time I'd noticed them.

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