A Tale of Two Blankets

The blankets in this article were not just any two blankets. These blankets belonged to my dear departed mother. My sister bought them for her while she was still alive and spared no expense. Both were Hudson’s Bay blankets and each was made of pure soft wool. The more expensive of the two was ivory white, known as a ‘multistripe iconic point’ blanket. It has the traditional green, yellow, red and blue wide stripes across it horizontally at the top and bottom. At the date of this writing, just one of them will cost you well over $400. The other blanket was beige/brown, patterned as I recall, and my sister paid a big buck for it as well. I mention the cost in order to point out that they were by no means just a couple of ordinary blankets that someone would fail to notice or would neglect to return if borrowed. They were soft, thick and welcoming; and after my mother passed away they were mine.

The material cost of replacing the blankets would certainly be something to think about for some people, but irrelevant to me, and the fact that my sister wanted me to have them as keepsakes after my mother passed away is the only important factor. However, the blankets vanished from where I kept them at my property up north and I’ve had a hell of a difficult time trying to stop thinking about them. It’s like they keep calling to me.

The property I’m referring to that these precious blankets disappeared from is my recreational property in central Ontario, Canada, that I use as my getaway. If you see Algonquin Park on a map, you’re getting warm to where my place is. It’s my ‘go to’ haven to relax and veg. I also do some writing up there when I’m not cutting firewood, setting a fencepost in the ground, or trying to catch a fish. The entire property faces water and has a beautiful stand of red pines on it, as well as some other species of beautiful trees. It also has a private beach at the southern end that terminates at a creek. The views to distant hills and low mountains surrounding the area are truly breathtaking. The air there is always fresh and clean. I smile whenever I think about it.

My son Evan, his wife Jen and son Braxton, their friends and kids, as well as some of Jen’s family, have used the place from time to time. I have been very generous when it comes to making the place available to all of them. Some have stayed in my place on the property, while others have preferred to camp outside for a more rugged experience.

A picture of a blanket

Blanket

So did anyone use my two blankets to stay warm on a particularly chilly evening? Probably, and that would have been fine by me! Where we ran into a problem is that during a visit someone just plain stole them, though I can’t imagine who would do such an awful thing.

The last I saw of the blankets was when I placed them in a large storage drawer at the foot of my queen-sized bed. Recently, I decided I would take them home because I was worried about mice chewing on them after I discovered some mouse droppings on the floor nearby. Those pesky little critters will get into just about anything and it had me worried.

But when I went to get the blankets they were gone. I searched everywhere they could possibly be. My son Evan even joined in the hunt, but they couldn’t be found. That was when I experienced first-hand how absolutely infuriating it can be when someone steals from you. It’s even more the case when the thief is someone in a group of people that you know and trust and have been generous to, but can’t specifically identify.

Maybe the culprit thought those blankets weren’t important to me, or that I wouldn’t miss them, or that they were too good for that environment. I can certainly afford to replace them as everyone knows, but these matters are far from the point. The worst part about those blankets going missing is that I feel violated and empty. I’ve been taken advantage of and can’t do a damn thing about it. Nothing. I feel completely helpless without any proof of who the nasty sneak was, so the thief wins.

So, as my dear dad used to ask me frequently, “What’s the bottom line?” The bottom line is the eighth commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ Please add the golden rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

I don’t want to keep thinking about my two missing blankets but I know I will. The disappearance of them gnaws at me; troubles me. That’s because my mother’s unconditional love, comfort and spiritual guidance are the magical memories really woven into those two blankets – those special blankets of mine that now someone else has. Such a pity.

Stephen Winn              

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