Every so often I get really sentimental. Today’s one of those days. I spent yesterday hauling the winter clothes out of the basement and putting all our *sniff* summer clothes and gear away. The single best part of this yearly ritual is bringing out the oldest pair of mittens I own.
These are NOT for the kids. These are NOT for the school PAC. These are NOT for everyday wear. These mittens are SPECIAL. Everyone in the family knows these particular mittens are completely off-limits to EVERYONE else. They are the mittens my Grandma knitted me.
It’s not that I’m not into sharing, I usually am, but these particular mittens have a story, and a purpose. These mittens were knitted for me by my fathers mother for Christmas the year I was in Grade 3. That is… 25 YEARS ago. They still fit me! (Yes, tightly, but hey, I’m a grown woman now) I have dutifully put them away each summer, to retrieve them from the stow away box every fall.
About Grade 7 those special mittens got lost. I was devastated and literally cried. I found them about a month later, buried in a snow bank, I want to blame my brother but I suspect that would just be unfounded Douchary.
When I bought my truck as a teen, I put my special mittens in the emergency safety box. They lived next to screwdrivers, tire sealant, and jumper cables for the next… well really, I would still have them in my van now, but I suppose I had to wash them last spring when I put the rest of the winter gear away.
My theory is that when you get stuck in a scary situation, like oh say, Break-down in Northern BC in January, you need more than just a bit of heat to keep you going. You need determination and love. These mittens are damn warm. I actually don’t wear them regularly because they are so warm they sometimes make me have sweaty hands.
My Grandma was a little girl during the depression. She and my Grandpa have told me stories of riding the boxcars and getting arrested, not for being bad, but for being poor.
Grandpa was like a Magpie, he kept everything “That might be useful someday” and by god, there were times I thought “Why in the world does he have a (random car part) for my (name one of a dozen broken jalopies) He doesn’t even have one” Well, that’s why.
I learned to Use, Reuse, Repair, Recondition, Repurpose, then finally Recycle everything.
To me, the lessons learned from their story of my Dad’s first crib being a banana box, and living in a 1 room shack with 3 kids in freezing temperatures are a reminder to be determined to succeed no matter what the obstacle is.
I keep my mittens handy for that possible break-down on a quiet logging road in Canadian weather, because even if the rest of me is cold and ready to give up, I know my warm hands and heart will help me save myself and anyone with me.