It’s rainy and a little cool in Chicago today, so it’s a perfect day for a yellow sweatshirt.
You’d have to be my sister to get that, and you aren’t, so I’ll tell you about it.
When we were kids, my sister and I stayed at my grandmother’s house during the day all summer. Our mother drove us there every morning (early! so early I would I still cry if I had to get up that early) and then picked us up every afternoon. In between, Jill and I did crafts, read books, watched a lot of TV, and worked on our 4-H projects. My grandma knew how to sew and cook (I use the past tense only because she doesn’t do these things anymore; she’s still very much with us), so she taught us these things and sometimes our new skills got us blue ribbons on our 4-H projects.
My grandma’s house was cold, though. It was air conditioned within the Alpine to Polar range, and every day, I complained about being cold. One day, my grandma handed me an old yellow sweatshirt to wear. Like most things I liked as a kid, my sister eventually fought me for it, and so we both grew up with a fondness for this old, ratty, sweatshirt. It had blue writing on it, but I can’t begin to remember what it advertised.
Recently I was at my sister’s house. We fought off mosquitoes in order to stay out on the deck past dark. Jill went into her house and came back wearing, indeed, a yellow sweatshirt. Not the same one. The old one had been worn into shreds by the two of us. But Jill had managed to find a pretty reasonable facsimile. She saw me rubbing my arms at one point and offered me a sweatshirt. And then, without missing a beat, she asked me if I wanted to wear that sweatshirt. The yellow one. And I certainly did. She handed me that one and retrieved another for herself.
It’s a nothing story, isn’t it? But it’s one of those things that happens to siblings, I think. They understand the same language, no matter how everyday it is.
Not the end of the story, though. When my husband and I went on vacation recently, we stumbled on a strange little store in a small town near where we were staying. It was called The University of Three Lakes Bookstore, except when we went inside: No books. Just lots and lots of University of Three Lakes merchandise. T-shirts, beer cozies, teddy bears. We were the only people in the store, so I had no qualms about asking. “There’s no University of Three Lakes, is there?” There is not. It’s just a tourist t-shirt shop with a sense of humor.
And then I saw it. University of Three Lakes sweatshirt—in yellow.
It’s the best sweatshirt I’ve had in a long time. It’s perfect and soft, and will probably last many, many years. I can’t wait to tell my sister.