No Ordinary Blanket
He bought it at the Sav-On Drugstore for $4.97.
Natalie Walker Whitlock is a professional writer and columnist who lives in Arizona with her husband and their 7 children - Jeffrey (15), Daniel (13), Thomas (11), Madelyn (9), Abigail (6), and twins Robert & William (2).
Natalie has authored five books for Publications International and Avon. Her new book, A Parent’s Guide to the Internet is available from http://www.dot-com-mom.com
It was an unassuming1 wool blanket – red tartan2 plaid with fringe on each end. When new, it was starchy3 and its colors vivid; but after nearly twenty years of service, the colors were faded and so threadbare4 in places you could see right through it. I thought the blanket itchy and hot5, but Dad stubbornly6 defended its merits.
“This is no ordinary blanket,” he would say.
Commonly known as a stadium blanket, we called it our “car blanket” because that’s where it resided between outings7 and vacations. It lay folded neatly in the back of our ’68 Chevy station wagon8, ready and waiting to be called into service. Most of its use came as a picnic blanket, a groundcover over the rocks, sand, and pine needles of my childhood.
My father’s blanket began its distinguished career shortly after he and my mother were married. They were driving along a wooded highway when they noticed smoke rising in the distance. What my parents assumed was a harmless campfire turned out to be a smoldering9 brush fire threatening a nearby trailer home. With no one around and no time to spare, they fought the small fire – just Dad, Mom, and the car blanket. After that, it was a little worse for the wear, but Dad just said the discolorations gave the blanket “character.”
A few years later, Dad passed a blue sedan parked along the side of a city street. A few seconds down the road he got the notion that something wasn’t quite right with the scene, and he turned around to have a closer look. There, in the dim10 light of evening and within sight of the speeding cars, a woman was having a baby. Dad lent a helping hand, the use of his blanket, and a ride to the hospital. The couple was deeply grateful for the unsolicited11 help of a stranger.
For a while the blanket returned to its familiar role. We watched fireworks on it, and drive-in movies. It protected my father’s backside during an unexpected roadside tire-change12. Once, when a spring trip to the beach turned unseasonably chilly, I recall huddling13 beneath its protection with my sisters, grateful for Dad and his scratchy14 old blanket.
Several years later, my father was the first one at the scene of a serious accident. Instinctively, he stopped and approached the mangled15 car where a young woman was inside, trembling and bloody. He thought of his own five daughters as he wrapped the blanket around her and comforted her. The warmth of the wool helped prevent shock from setting in and kept her calm until the ambulance arrived.
The car blanket ended its remarkable sojourn16 with our family one brisk December morning. A homeless man, a “regular”17 outside Dad’s office building, asked him for some spare change. Almost as an afterthought, my father went back to his car, got the blanket from its resting place, and presented it to the man. The last time my father saw the red plaid blanket was around his shoulders.
My mom bought a new car blanket soon after that, but it just wasn’t the same. It was blue and soft; it had no stickers or threadbare patches, no grease stains or singed18 edges. The old wool blanket had earned its place in our family mythology. It was, after all, no ordinary blanket.
1 unassuming – непритязательный
2 tartan – клетчатая шерстяная материя, шотландка
3 starchy – накрахмаленный
4 threadbare – потертый
5 itchy and hot – колючий, вызывающий зуд
6 stubbornly – упрямо
7 outing – загородная прогулка
8 ‘68 Chevy station wagon – «шевроле» 1968 года с кузовом универсал
9 smolder – (амер.) тлеть
10 dim – тусклый
11 unsolicited – добровольный
12 tire-change – замена шины
13 huddle – жаться друг к другу
14 scratchy – царапающий
15 mangled – покореженный
16 sojourn – (зд.) житье (временное)
17 regular – (разг.) завсегдатай
18 singe – опалять
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