As my prior blog entry revealed, my family narrowly avoided a house fire due to my diligence about dryer vent cleaning. Now, I have to take credit for another act of heroism also known as The Culling of the Coats.
Some people have a problem with socks that breed, multiply and then disappear under beds, couches or into the wrong drawers, closets and backpacks. Our family has a similar problem with coats. Last Saturday, I asked my son to search out their favorite gathering places and dump them in a pile on the living room floor.
First, he cleared the entry foyer. That only took two trips. Then he cleared the mudroom coat hangers, hooks and baskets. Three trips. Last, he tackled the darkened coat closet and shelves at the entry to the crawl space. That took 7 trips. I counted 51 pelts.
We formed a family circle around them. My daughter stood near the Keep pile. My son handled the Landfill pile and the Donate pile. My husband guarded his own special section since he is the primary cause for this overabundance. My son drew one coat at a time and we all voted on the final destination. The majority didn’t always win the vote; in some cases, it depended on the emotional outbursts and persuasiveness of the owner.
The one-piece ski suit with the wide belt and high collar stayed because it would come in handy during Retro Ski Day although of course no one in our family has participated in that event.
The worn-out Mother Karen shell coat from 1981 went to Heaven along with vests, parkas and raincoats that were torn, abused and de-zippered beyond repair. Most of the fishing, hunting, golfing, Carhartts and lumberjack gear were saved. Heirloom Patagonia fleece pullovers were fondled. Memories were shared over the fishing coat my husband gave me when we were first married 19 years ago that I had worn once, and dust-covered scarves were reminders of Christmas Past. I brushed cobwebs off some old snowmobiling pants, thinking of the day my husband rode off the trail into a tree and broke three ribs. He wouldn’t let me toss them in the Landfill pile. My son’s beloved cockroach costume was bagged for donation.
In the end, we culled over 20 from the herd. My husband was forbidden from bringing home any more outerwear from his jaunts to the See N’ Save Thrift Store. My fear is that the wide open spaces we now enjoy in the entry way and mud room will slowly and inexplicably begin to fill. After all, we didn’t grab the coats that live in our vehicles or hang on pegs in the garage. Or remain stashed in camping storage or river bags or the horse trailer or bedroom closets.