I got a new yellow hoodie today to replace my old one. So what, you say? Well, I'll tell you, it's monumental. I guess I have to start out by explaining what my old sweatshirt means to me. I bought it shortly after we moved here ten years ago. I went to the university bookstore and picked out an XXL yellow hoodie that said KENT STATE UNIVERSITY across the front in really pretty small letters for a sweatshirt. The letters aren't puffy or rigid or plaid, they're just navy blue printed letters.
I don't think it started out this way, but I wear my hoodie every day. Well, maybe there are a couple of mornings in August when I don't put it on as soon as I wake up, but that's about it. I use my sweatshirt for a bathrobe, for one thing, and even I have to admit that the mornings can be a little chilly in the house, pretty much year round. I'm not complaining, you understand, that's how I like it.
I wear my hoodie for walking Rufus or when I go hiking with Ben. It's great for rainy weather because of, well, obviously, the hood. I wear it underneath my leather coat in the winter when I go out to shovel snow. I took it with me to Arizona and wore it in Mexico, which gave all the street vendors in Nogales the opportunity to yell "Hey, Kent State!" at me as we walked by. It was cool and rainy that day. Again, the hood was great. I wear my hoodie when we go down to the flea market in Hartville or up to the lake at Mentor Headlands.
Actually, it was after our last trip to the lake that I finally had to admit that Ben was right, and it might be time to start looking for a new sweatshirt. We had stopped in Chardon on our way home, and decided to have lunch in a cute little restaurant there. When we were seated at our table, I glanced down at my hands and saw my ragged, torn, dirty shirt cuffs. Granted, I had dressed for hiking along the lake shore, not lunching out, but still I was embarrassed. Maybe my sweatshirt, like my flannel pajama bottoms, needed to stay in the house from now on. Or at least on our property.
Clearly, I needed a new sweatshirt. The problem would be finding the right one. I had some very definite specifications as to color, size, and most importantly, the lettering on the front. In a perfect world, I would find a sweatshirt identical to the one I had, but I already know it's not a perfect world. Ben offered once again this morning to take me over to the bookstore to look for a new hoodie, and this time I took him up on it. "Sure, let's go," I surprised us both by saying.
As we entered the bookstore, Ben used his most relaxed, calming voice. "Now, you're going to be open-minded about this and consider what they have here, right?" "Sure, sure," I told him, but I was already searching for the twin to my beloved hoodie. And, I have to tell you, I damn near found it. It was on the discount rack, actually, and it was the only yellow hoodie - in fact the only yellow piece of clothing - on the entire rack. It was a size XXL and it didn't have any puff paint or stupid mascots on it. Only "KENT" was printed on the front of it, unfortunately in huge, three-inch tall letters, but I can live with that. I can be open-minded.
Ben bought me the sweatshirt, and I brought it home and threw it in the washer with the old sweatshirt, which needed to be washed anyway, as it had some toothpaste down the front of it. Long story short - well, too late for that, I guess - I am wearing the new hoodie right now. It feels pretty okay. I wore it through dinner and ate pasta with sauce, but didn't get any sauce on the sweatshirt. I think that's a good sign. I think it's going to work out all right.
You might think I am going to get rid of my old hoodie or perhaps cut it up for cleaning rags. That is not what I am planning to do. I am going to cut the long sleeves off and wear it like Bill Belichick wears his sweatshirts. That's right. Bill Belichick. I am just not ready to let go of it yet. Maybe I never will be.