Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 8, 1999

A red coat is the only coat for me


When I was eight years old, I had a red coat that I loved. In fact, I loved it so much that I didn't want to ever give it up.

Mother said to me, "That coat is getting too small for you. You need a new coat."

"I will only get a new coat if it is red," I told my mother.

One day, we went shopping and looked at many coats, but we didn't see any in red. Secretly, I was glad because that meant I could keep on wearing the coat that I loved. I didn't mind at all that it was getting very frayed and old-looking. I just loved it.

The next day when I went to school, my mother had found a different jacket for me to wear. But I said, "No, I want to wear my red one."

At school, a boy teased me and said that I looked like a bum.

"I do not. You take that back," I said.

The boy pushed me and I fell backward. The back of my coat tore and I started to cry, but the boy just laughed at me.

"Why don't you get a new coat?" he asked.

"No, I will only wear a red one," I said and I walked away.

"Hey," the boy yelled, "I know where there are red coats. Go to a hunting store. They have lots of red coats."

"Are you sure?" I asked as I started to walk back to him.

"Yes, my brother goes deer hunting and he has one," the boy said.

I was so excited, I kissed him on the cheek. I couldn't wait to get home to tell my mother.

But my mother said, "You don't want a hunting coat."

"Why not, if it is red?" I asked.

So we went to the hunting store. My mother asked the man behind the counter if he had any red coats.

The man said, "Oh yes, but I don't have any that will fit you."

My mother explained that the coat was for her daughter.

The man looked at me and said, "That girl is too young to go deer hunting."

My mother gave me a look and muttered, "We should have stayed home."

I told the man the story about how much I wanted to have a red coat and he said, "Well, I don't have any big red coats, but I do have three coats that are your size." And he went to the back of the store to get them.

I picked the longest jacket and said, "Oh Mother, I love it." I put the jacket on and it fit me perfectly.

The man behind the counter said, "If you buy that coat, I will give you a red cap to go with it."

So Mother told the man we would take the coat and I wore it home.

On the way home, mother didn't say much.

"Mother, are you mad at me?" I asked.

"No," she said, "But that man thinks I am too fat."

"Oh Mother," I reminded her, "It doesn't matter what that man thinks. You know that Dad loves you, just the way you are."

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