— Linus van Pelt
Security Blanket Kingpin (b. Sept. 19, 1952)
“Is this going to show up in Inkspots?” my beloved Valentine asked the other night with a gorgeous smile after winning our routine tug-of-war over rights to the yellow security blanket whose antiquity pre-dates our marriage.
Our vows came June 4, 1977.
Our blanket came August 1973.
Back then, it was not our blanket. It was my blanket. Now it is her blanket.
It was a gift from my mother 38 years ago, a sendoff for her voyager son who was heading off to college as a nervous but bright-eyed University of Tennessee at Martin freshman who left home toting most of his worldly possessions in a suitcase, a duffel bag and a discounted green trunk that Dad had purchased from Fred’s Dollar Store.
“Those dorm rooms stay cold in the winter,” Mom told me. “You can wrap up in this at night while you’re studying.”
Moms are special. Always have been. Forever will be.
My wife and I share a mutual love for that yellow blanket. Its soft fabric warms her velvet skin. Its years of memories warm my heart.
The blanket came from a modest start. Mom picked it out of the S&H Green Stamp Catalog. She and Dad always saved the green stamps they received in the checkout line every Saturday morning in our town’s Big Star Grocery Store. My mother patiently pasted stamps into those small empty books until she had enough to redeem for a gift.
I figure that yellow blanket probably cost four or five S&H books that were filled with stamps by the meager earnings and from the sweat of a pair of blue collar workers who I loved most.
For four good years that blanket served its rightful purpose. Me.
An untold number of college papers were written during late winter nights from the cramped confines of that dormitory room whose chill was made more bearable by the thin little throw draped about my shoulders.
Then she walked into my life, the Delilah of discount comforters.
I should have suspected a clandestine plot upon first spying her stolen glances in the direction of my yellow blanket. It was tossed carelessly across the back of the tiny room’s only chair.
Had I my wits about me, I surely would have cautioned, “Eyes off the blanket lady. It’s taken.”
But I was blinded by beauty.
And quite taken by her brown eyes, smile and college-girl looks.
Too, I was astonished she would give time and attention to this long-haired, bushy-sideburned boy of the Southern ’70s. She had spent several years in Chicago as a child so she assuredly was too classy for a rural, slow-talking lad such as I.
Yet, she had taken a shining to me.
Or, to my blanket.
I never saw it coming.
In an unselfish, single-boy act of chivalry, I allowed her use of my blanket during our dorm room studies together. It was my undoing. It was stage one in a coming spiritual separation from my blanket. And that’s how it always starts.
Sometime in 1976 we became engaged.
In May 1977, we graduated college.
In June, we married.
In July, the relationship ended.
What had been my yellow blanket for four glorious college years was but a memory.
It became her blanket.
Now, almost four decades later ...
She wears it at night cuddled up in the big chair in the living room watching TV.
She enjoys its warmth during Saturday and Sunday afternoon naps.
She strolls from room to room wearing it about her shoulders like Super Girl draped in a canary cape.
She takes it on road trips because the car’s air conditioning is always too cold.
She takes it with her on winter weekend visits to see her folks because their house is short on insulation.
She wears it reading books.
She dons it at the kitchen table assembling jigsaw puzzles.
She greets visitors at the front door wearing it like a queen.
She cooks in it.
She cleans in it.
She talks on the phone in it.
She scrapbooks in it.
And sometimes she lets me wash it.
I loved my yellow blanket.
But now it belongs to another.
Who loves it just as much.
I’m happy for the two of them.
Mom always told me one day I would fall in love ... though not necessarily with a yellow blanket.
It brings to mind that old adage, “To have loved a yellow blanket, and lost, is better than never to have loved at all.”
Now I must pick up the pieces.
But I’m sure there are other yellow blankets in the sea.