The picture: On the left is my younger brother, Joel. Next to him is my older sister, May (sorry, if you don't like the picture May :). That girl in the front is my sister's ex-sister-in-law. On the right is me at the tender age of 17.
I searched through a lot of pictures and, sorry, this is the best I could find to pay homage to a wonderful jacket. First I called it the "20 pound coat." One plastic hanger is not enough; best use two hangers or the one will snap and the coat will be on the floor. Nowadays I call it Big Green or The Big Green Coat.
I know that I am in a transitional place in my life, as far as careers, kids, houses, all that. Moreso, I have already decided that after this year I will retire Big Green.
My wife hates the coat. Hates. It's a military issue coat, from the tag: Jacket, Flying, Man's. I'm sure the coat is older than I am. My stepfather acquired the coat, used, when I was about 16. Already retired from military duty. But as such it was meant to perform. You can abuse it and it will be ready to go again tomorrow for years on end. Someone could shiv you in an alley, you would need one stitch, the coat would take five. Wouldn't it be cool during the design of all clothes, if the taylor stopped every couple of minutes to ask "Now where can we fit MORE bullets?" How about four tiny pockets on the sleeve? Watch out, enemies of democracy! Wool pockets up high, giant chambers down low. Dual chambers that would rival any woman's purse for storage.
When I wear Big Green I understand why girls chase and marry men with money. It is impossible to be cold in the embrace, even while building a snowcave. In school, the coat is a fortress. You can drift into slumber and Big Green will hold you as rigid as the most alert notetaker. If someone breaks your heart and your stepping off a bus, considering collapsing in the street, you can do it. It won't hurt or be uncomfortable, even if you're on rocks or in a puddle. At my torturous place of employment I used the coat as a physical shield. Tried to block out my horrible reality.
Today the coat is stained and torn. The wrists were shredded by the sharp metal edges of my snowboard during years of back country riding. The edges are ragged like cut-off jeans.
So this is Big Green's last winter and life will never be the same again.