The older I get, the more my desire to get rid of things, to pare things down, to streamline the number of my possessions, grows. It’s not like I’m very good at it yet (I still have a lot of stuff, and I’d like to have a couple more motorcycles!), but I do feel a growing need to cut down on the number of items I own, to simplify my life. I’ve gotten pretty good at selling used items on the internet, and it’s always nice to get a bit of money, even if it’s not much, for things that you no longer use, as opposed to letting them sit in a corner of the basement or attic and gather dust.
In the course of this new push to be less materialistic, I’ve also sold a couple of jackets, and recently put an old Woolrich 60/40 jacket on a couple of online sales portals. The 60/40 is a typical “mountain parka” that was popular with hikers and campers before Gore-Tex came along. The jacket’s shell is made of a blend 60/40 Cotton/Nylon material that was originally popularized by Sierra Designs in the early 1970s. The material is a tight weave that does a good job of keeping out rain, snow and wind, and with its big hood, wool lining and abundance of pockets is a very practical piece of kit to have. I bought the jacket back in the early 1990s because I had always wanted one, but it turned out to be one of those things I never wore much, and for some reason I never really warmed up to its deep green color.
After putting the jacket up for sale, however, I came across a photo taken in 1996, the year our daughter Helen was born. She’s sitting on my lap during a trip I made with my folks, and in the photo I have the green jacket on.
The picture brought back a lot of happy memories of a great trip my wife, daughter and I took to western Massachusetts with my parents. It was one of the last trips with my dad, who died the next year of cancer, and my mom and I still talk about how the only way we could get Helen to stop crying while we were driving was to play a tape of Japanese opera songs my father had picked up while on a business trip to Asia. It’s kind of a bizarre image to be riding through the Berkshires while listening to Japanese arias wafting around the car, but it proved to be very soothing, and that tape was on continuous play. It’s funny the things you remember when you see a photo. It made me think about how my father and I had gotten along well the last couple of years before he died, something that was often not the case. And it made me think of how fast time goes by. At any rate, the photo and the memories it evoked made me decide to keep the jacket, and now I find myself wearing it more and more often, and it always puts a smile on my face when I do.