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Help! I’ve Misplaced My Glove … Again

This year, I got a much-appreciated birthday gift: a pair of lined leather gloves that actually keep my circulation-impaired hands relatively warm during winter trips outside.

These days, I don’t do much outside that is of a recreational nature. But there are dogs, cats and chickens to feed and water. My daily 1.5-mile walk with the dogs is also de rigueur.

On a parenthetical note, I am mildly bemused when anywhere from two to four of our six cats tag along on the walk through the field, down to the pond, uphill to the highway fronting our house, then back again.

Oddly, it is not always the same cats. The dogs come every day. They do not have a choice. They are getting old; Ralph, a Lab/Aussie mix, is nine, and Buddy, a collie-beagle mix (Really!) is eight. Left to themselves, they would loll around, getting fatter.

“If I must walk, you must walk!” I say, and they look at me as though I am speaking in a foreign tongue.

Then I switch from pompous declamations — a favorite pastime, since I like the sound of my own voice — to dogspeak.

“Walk! Goforwalk!” I say, waving my hand toward the regular starting point, between the garage and the barn.

And we do.

A half-century of stupidly smoking cigarettes has given rise to diseases that combined with long-ago frostbite to painfully chill the fingers of both hands, making them simultaneously numb to touch and painful to feel.

The pain is made much worse if I slosh water onto hands or permeable gloves while carrying a 5-gallon bucket from the house the 100 yards to the chicken condo inside the barn. In warmer weather, a rain barrel abaft the chicken condo suffices. A decade ago, we ran an electric line to the barn. Doltishly, I did not include a water line in that trenching operation. So now, in winter, I hand-carry water.

These new gloves made that task much easier. They are padded enough to ease the pull of the bucket handle on my clenched fingers. Treated with olive oil or beeswax, they become nearly waterproof without losing their ability to allow sweat moisture to wick away rather than stay inside and chill.

I got them, as I said, on my birthday, Dec. 7.

By New Year’s Day, I had lost them.

Dumb.

The gloves are necessarily large, so they stick outside the hand warmer pockets on my winter parka while I am in town, going to and from stores on business, or walking about outside. I had them. Then, I did not have them.

“Of course I do not know where I lost them!” I declaimed to my wife. “If I knew, they would not be lost, would they?”

I substituted another pair. Within two days, I had lost them as well. My wife spotted one on the ground beside our truck, in a parking lot.

She smirked.

“Do you want me to lend you some of my large safety pins?” she asked, sweetly.

I glowered for a moment, but we were both quickly transported back to childhood in winter, the 1940s for me, the 1950s for her.

Her parents used safety pins to affix gloves or, more usually, mittens, to the sleeve ends of winter jackets or snowsuits.

My parents or, usually, my Aunt Jean, wove a yardstick-long piece of yarn into the ends of my mittens, and then shoved each mitten down a sleeve of a winter coat or snowsuit. When the mittens came off or fell off, as they inevitably did during sled rides or snowball fights, they dangled instead of dropping out of sight beneath the snow.

When my own children were little, we had become more technologically advanced. Most winter coats or snowsuits had metal clip fasteners sewn to the sleeves by short lengths of stretchy elastic fabric.

Children’s gloves or mittens often come off, of course. I remember the wet red hand-knit mittens getting all sticky as I molded snowballs, and then sticking to the snowballs as I tried to throw them. Unfastened, they would fly off.

Actually, back then, it did not make much difference whether they stayed on or not. Wet through, they were still cold. But our youthful hands and fingers could take the cold. Our circulation was good, and we ran around so much that we generated plenty of heat energy.

Yes, we reminisced. But I declined the offer of safety pins and ordered another pair of those marvelous gloves. They came three weeks ago.

Last week, I lost one of them again.

That is enough.

If you see a geezer wandering the streets of Brookville with heavy winter mittens flopping against his thighs, held there by a bright red length of yarn threaded up across his shoulders … well, say hello.

Second childhood, indeed.

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Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: denny2319@windstream.net.

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