Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Sweater

After I put my pjs on at night, I cover my thin top with a big cream-colored knit sweater that has my maiden name written in permanent black ink inside the collar. The reason it's big on me is because it used to be my father's favorite sweater, and the reason our name is written in it is because my mother was afraid it would get lost in his Alzheimer's ward of the nursing home.

I would think the sweater was made by someone for Dad, but it's got a tag in it, barely hanging on by a couple threads. Size S. Dad was tall, but thin. It has a couple permanent stains on it, and a few non-permanent ones at the moment because it needs washing. I always hesitate to wash it because it long ago lost its washing instructions tag, and I hate to ruin it. But, heck -- it was washed in the Alzheimer's ward laundry I assume over and over and still survives, so it must be laundry-durable.

For some reason, I associate this sweater with ice cream and the bright light over the kitchen table. That's my main memory of my father wearing this sweater. Sunday night, after church, at the kitchen table. No other lights on in the house except the TV -- probably Masterpiece Theater, or whatever the network movie of the week is. Big bowl of popcorn on the table and Mom scooping ice cream for everyone with a large spoon. Probably vanilla, because it's so versatile. I can put my Hershey's chocolate syrup all over it, and Dad can fill his tall, green glass with it and pour strawberry soda over the top to make an ice cream soda. Long-handled spoon moving up and down to smoosh the ice cream in with the soda. Every Sunday night.

He would sit in his cream-colored knit sweater buttoned up with the three brown buttons in front (I rarely button it) with his arms folded so his hands were tucked underneath them. Dad's hands and feet were always cold. Just like mine. I wonder if his nose and ears got cold at night before he went to sleep, too.

And I wonder if Dad would be as amused as I am at the idea of my wearing his cream-colored knit sweater every night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think he would be surprised, shyly self-conscious by your warm sentiments and laughing with a happy smile. I enjoyed reliving these memories....thanks. NancyB