Monday, February 3, 2014

Reminisces in Red

On my daily walk around the lakes today, a man, who was walking his dog on the opposite side of the road, greeted me. I waived back and walked on. But the man crossed the street and his chocolate dog came to sniff my legs. I reached out to pet the dog.

"I like your red jacket. It's a great jacket," the man said.

"Thank you," I said, somewhat amused. People are often friendly around the lakes and I've made some great friends this way. I didn't recognize him or the dog, but since it's pretty cold out and we're all bundled up walking briskly, sometimes it's hard to readily know who it is.

"I bought a red jacket similar to yours for my young bride who was coming from overseas." he continued.

Even though Stelios had vanished at the bend of the road, rushing ahead to take the bread out of the oven before it became toast, and even though I wanted to return home and work on my novel, and even though it was cold and damp, I stopped. I was hooked. I'm a sucker for a good story!

"Where was she coming from?" I asked the man with the chocolate dog.

"She was coming from Israel and it was 1952. You have to understand that in 1952, a red coat was not very common like it is today. A red coat stood out then."

I can imagine it did in a world of pastels where women wore soft pinks and baby blues, and pale yellows.

"The only difference was that hers was made of faux fur. She wore it a lot."

I didn't have to do much math to figure out that the young bride had to be an old woman now. Maybe he had even lost the wife of the 1950's red jacket, maybe when he saw me coming down the road, he thought, for a fleeting moment, there she is, coming to meet me.

"When we went back to Israel years later, she cut it and made muffs out of the sleeves," he said circling his right hand around the cuff of his left.

"Where is she today?" I asked petting the chocolate dog.

"She's disabled," he said. "Can't lift her arms, no cartilage left in her shoulders."
"Sorry," I said. "Please give her my best, even though I don't know her. Tell her from the woman with the red jacket."
"What's your name," he asked.
"Maria, what's yours?"

"Bob," he replied as we parted ways and the man with the chocolate dog walked home and I quickened my step to get home and taste a slice of  my husband's warm bread.