Covered

I’m a big fan of As Seen on TV things, in fact I’m known to piss away money on just about every product they can throw at me. It’s a big joke in this family, my weakness for those things.

I was never impressed with the Snuggie, however, and the jingle makes me cringe.

I am impressed with their marketing. Who would have thought those things would be such a hot selling item? The stores around here, they knew. Starting at halloween they had mountains of them for sale. Intuition or whatever you call that inner voice said, buy one of those stupid things because there will be none left a week before Christmas and you will want to send that to someone. I resisted buying one until I saw all of those stacks of Snuggies dwindle down to nothing.

Sure as shit I did find myself driving around looking everywhere for the blanket with sleeves to give my mom. I don’t know why I thought I had to get it for her, but by the time I found one on Amazon.com, I had pretty much convinced myself that my mom would freeze to death in her house without it.

Then I wanted to get one for Blane. Now that’s bat shit crazy because we don’t want or need another blanket in the house. We have stacks of throws in a basket behind the sofa and there is no room for another.

So why did I buy him an electric throw for Christmas?

One thing in particular I haven’t wanted in this house is an electric blanket. It’s not about the fire hazard or that we don’t have room for it, it is about an aversion to them. I don’t even like seeing them in stores. I know that sounds crazy, but when my dad was dying in the hospital he kept asking everyone to bring him an electric blanket, that he was so cold.

I knew hospitals don’t allow them and he was too sick to understand that or to remember that he had already asked for it a million other times.

So I hate electric blankets because they remind me of a dying wish that was not fulfilled.

And this has been sixteen years since my father passed.

So while looking for that Snuggie thing, I got to go near the electric blanket section in the store and I had my usual gutted feeling. Then I thought, I have got to think about this differently. I grabbed one and bought it.

Got home, wrapped myself in that thing and felt almost as if I’d gotten a hug from my dad.

I went out the next day and bought more “hugs” for Christmas. One for Blane, one for my son, one for his wife. They loved them. It was a great gift, and probably way better than a Snuggie.

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Taps

My father was a veteran of the Korean War.

All of his life he was an active member of his local VFW. I’m sure those guys did a lot of things, but all I’m aware of is he cooked for bar-b-que fundraisers, called out the numbers at their bingos, things like that. The most important thing he did was play Taps on his trumpet at veterans’ funerals.

Just before his burial (this was 15 years ago) I kept thinking about how hard it would be not to collapse when they played Taps for him. I thought of a million things to give me the strength to make it through that moment.

It was a moment that never came. My dad was the Taps guy. Doh.

So there was a moment of silence at that point instead. I should have been relieved, I didn’t have to worry about collapsing, but I got angry. He’d spent so many years doing this for others and when his time came, there was no one to do the same for him. I didn’t have any brain left that day to think it out, that no one else was trained for this. I kept this all to myself, of course.

In honor of my father, I support three Veterans charities. My favorite is Help Hospitalized Vets. It’s a group that provides craft kits for patients in VA Hospitals. My father had been in and out of the VA for years and he used to rave about these kits and was so proud of all the things he made.

Here’s a pair of mocassins he made for me while in the hospital:

I can’t tell you how much these craft kits helped him pass the time or how they gave him the feeling of accomplishment.

T.S. Young can, he’s a veteran in Battle Creek, MI who recently sent me a thank you card.

I get a lump in my throat every time I receive one of these in the mail.

For all you vets and current soldiers out there, thank you.