So, I have this infamous barn jacket.
It’s become infamous because people do go on about it. I received this jacket from a previous roommate in lieu of some of his rent. It was in perfect condition when I took possession of it long ago, you know, when hunter green was a trending color. It’s old, it’s faded, stained, shapeless, collar-curled — and I love it!
No one can believe I still own it, let alone that I still love it. I have other jackets and coats, and I had even once considered buying a new, powder blue barn jacket, but I’ve come to realize this old green barn jacket exemplifies my favorite season and my ideal weather. It’s become a part of me. Those other jackets are for staying warm while looking presentable. The green barn jacket is just for being, for living: For babies’ first tastes of snow, for drinking hot cider at a hog roast, for hiking trails.
In some ways, this jacket represents my life. It would be sappy to tell you all the ways, but I’ll just say it is a reflection of a well-traveled youth, as well as a token of some tough parenting years, and now, it’s an icon for everything I ever missed about home.
For seven years, about this time every year, I would get homesick. I would fondly remember Fall. I would become overwhelmed with memories of pumpkin patches, raking leaves, visits to Brown County and to Metamora, apple orchards, hayrides, bonfires, and more walks in crisp autumn air, or drives through fiery hills than I could count.
For those seven years, I had been jealous as my friends at home continued to enjoy their Midwestern Fall activities as if I wasn’t completely grief-stricken to be stuck in Georgia with the palm trees and the fire ants.
Was it hot in Georgia in September? Uh, YEAH. Where I lived, it’s currently 82 with 74% humidity. That’s pretty much the forecast for the week.
And you know what? You can’t carve pumpkins right now in southeast Georgia. Oh, you can buy em, but you’d better leave em inside and intact in the air-conditioning until October 29th or so, because that shit will cook and rot all up on your porch. *hisses* It will still be hot at Halloween! Oh the horror!
I have been convinced, for seven years, that if I had occasion to wear my old green barn jacket, I’d be happy. Simply having cause to wear the old green barn jacket would indicate a happiness. It would mean I was cold enough to need a jacket, and quite honestly, I could not wait to put the thing on!
After a few days at our house, I watched dried leaves swirl around the patio, wind in my hair, saying to whomever would listen, “It’s almost barn jacket weather.” A few mornings, it had been cool enough that the steaming coffee cup in my hand gave me pleasure. One morning, it was so chilly, I made sex noises when I opened the door.
Today was barn jacket day! Today, I slipped into it, accompanied the girls to the bus stop, and promptly returned to walk my dog. We trod through dried leaves, and left footprints in wet ground. I smiled brightly the entire time, so much so, my neighbors may well think I am touched in the head.
It was spectacular!