There’s two of them. They have a lot of mileage.
Sue and I couldn’t afford to travel when we were young. Certainly not hotel rooms. We camped out.
I bought a used Army pup tent, the kind with two halves. I knew a man in the National Guard. He was a sergeant. I traded the two very used tent halves for two new tent halves.
Sue had never camped out before we married. We were at the University. We were just shy of being dirt poor. We wanted to go out and see the world. We camped out at Lake Sardis, about twenty miles west.
We traded twelve books of S&H green stamps for the sleeping bags. I wanted the more expensive sleeping bags. They wanted two more books of stamps. We needed those stamps to for the cooking set, with plates and cups for four.
The sleeping bags were dark blue. The cotton was stiff. They smelled new. The tent smelled like Army Canvas. I can’t describe it. It’s its own smell.
Did I say we had no money? Spent every cent we had on tuition, gasoline and groceries. But, we could camp out.
They zipped together to make one big sleeping bag. That was good. We were still newly-weds, in the first two years of the forty seven we’ve managed.
If those bags could only talk. We took them to Nashville, then a week in the Smokies, another week in the Appalachian Mountains. They’ve been all over Mississippi. Literally across the South.
Our friend, Kathy got drunk and got sick in one of them. I wanted to throw it away. Kathy’s gone now, but we cleaned the sleeping bag. It’s still with us. We washed it and let it dry, hanging on the handrail of our apartment.
Then our three sons came along. The sleeping bags were adopted. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, summer camp, you know how that goes.
Suddenly, there’s a tear here, a broken zipper repaired with a zip-tie, stains that come from who knows where. The two sleeping bags survived.
I joined a hunting camp. The bags went with me. For ten years, they kept me warm at night,. They held me until a hangover arrived.
Honestly, I had forgotten about them. I didn’t know if they were still ours or not. Maybe I just took for granted they were still around somewhere.
We’re getting ready to move, to be closer to the grandchildren. A lot of grandparents do that. We want to ward off that loneliness that comes with getting old.
I found them both. Up in the attic, a whole lot on the worn side, with loose threads around the edges and a zipper that doesn’t work. The dark blue has faded, like a fine patina.
Our two sleeping bags have traveled through life with the two of us.
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