Since it has gotten cold enough that a pair of sweatshirts does not hold out the cold, I decided it was time to pull out the winter clothing.
A few years ago I separated my summer and winter clothing putting t-shirts and shorts in drawers and hanging up sweaters and overcoats into hanger bags. Last winter the weather was fairly mild and I only had to wear an overcoat once so I had forgotten what I had.
Walking up my 13 steps and across the creaking boards, I went from bag to bag trying to decide what to bring downstairs for the season. I pulled out a white super plush thick hoodie and on my walk to the music store to get a keyboard holder broke out in a sweat.
Listening to additional weather reports of cold temps and snow, I remembered my neck cover and wondered where that was. To anyone who goes outside in the cold will know, coats cover the body and hats cover the head but there is a gap under the chin to the trunk of the body that is exposed. Scarves are bulky and slide around and a bare neck just is not comfortable. It is also a gateway to the body for cold wind when riding a bike.
Officially they are called “Ski Neck Warmers” and come in lots of different materials and styles. I don’t remember where I found this one but it has been the best item to stay warm. It is just a double lined blue fleece collar about 6” wide. There are no extensions like a turtleneck dickey to fit under a shirt. Just pull it over your head and tuck it into the top of your sweatshirt of t-shirt. Roll over the top until your face can move easily and that is that. It keeps the neck warm and dry and blocks the flow of air to the body.
That neck warmer and a pair of earmuffs that wrap around from the back kept me warm many a dark, windy and cold winter night riding home.
Then I thought about gloves. I seem to have a fascination with gloves. Gloves are cheap accessories to the winter fashion statement and I have a lot of them. Big gloves with additional padding against winter, gloves that resist dampness like snow and tight gloves that was wind proof. Again I must preface this extreme interest in the fact that I ride a bike in winter. I need warmth since the hands are the first body part to hit the wind and need flexibility to change gears and squeeze brakes on icy roads.
In a long plastic box at the top of the stairs I cracked open to find my neck warmer and a bunch of gloves along with scarf’s and ear warmers. This was my treasure of the day. A few years before I placed all my other winter items into this container with some mothball protection and stoked it away until needed. What a find.
There was a green thick scarf knitted by my wife. It was so huge and long it could keep your entire body warm in a snowdrift. There was the McIver scarf made from my families’ tartan. When worn with a black tux it was a very classy and unique statement. Especially when wearing kilts to match. Don’t remember what became of them but it was probably some passion battle or animal mishap. A brown utilitarian scarf with functionality but little fashion was found in the pile. A trio of ear warmers that are nothing more than a smaller version of the neck warm that is just a head band but thick enough to cover your ears. This doesn’t work as well when you wear a hat or glasses. Speaking of hats, there were a couple of woolen caps to keep the skull from freezing. A tan one loosely knitted by the house yarn master and a blue double knit one with the red dress pin in it and the grey snug presented themselves for active duty against the cold.
And of course the gloves were hidden in there. Tight knits with long fingers that I had to seek out a few years earlier trying to match my seasonal needs. I bought them and stuffed them into this box and never wore any of them. So today was a new adventure and I tried a pair to see if they met my requirements and they did.
Also in this box of wonders were the faded blue collarless long sleeve thermal shirt I wore for a year until it became so hot I had to put it away, the black fleece sleeveless vest with the high neck that was the perfect layer, the all American blue R.A.C. sweatshirt which is a bit snug now but still warm, and several sweaters worn in the office when sitting next to a floor-to-ceiling window got chilly.
All these items were necessary some years ago when winter was more of toil than today. In another wooden treasure trunk are the woolen blankets and warm bedspreads and hand-made Afghans presented by family members as gifts showing their talents with needles and yarn. In the chilly days to come, some may be extracted to keep the legs warm during the last football games or kept quiet in their trundle bed.
Another couple of weeks and the seasons will be changing yet again and the items will be dusted off and placed back in their storage units for a long summer sleep await to be called upon to warm the body and refresh the mind.