If you live in Florida … why are you reading this?
To gloat? Floridians do that.
So did Aristotle Onassis, who married John F. Kennedy’s widow, Jackie. Aristotle’s logic: “Because I am a rich person … I have to tip $5 each time I check my coat. On top of that, I have to buy a very expensive coat, and it would have to be insured. Added up, without a topcoat, I save $20,000 a year.”
Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Onassis probably spent cold months — and considerably more than $20,000 — where wintry mix is unknown.
If you, like me, endure cold weather and lack $500 million, you know the blessing and curse of winter outerwear.
All Midwesterners recall being stuffed into snowsuits like sausage. Perhaps the sleep-deprived woman I called my mother, having stuffed, unstuffed (bathroom breaks), and restuffed five children into snowsuits, grabbed the wrong girl off the playground. Maybe she extracted, fed and hurried me to bed without recognizing she’d goofed.
I later endured her sweaty, August ritual of trying on winter outerwear. Buttons and zippers refused to cooperate. Tight sleeves crawled up arms.
Mom grimly calculated costs. Why couldn’t children grow wool like sheep?
As a second grader, I remember shopping for (drumroll) a rare new coat. I adored a blue parka with a hood — super-cool!
My mother’s choice: a long, old-lady coat. As school codes decreed girls wore dresses, it would have kept my legs toasty.
Mom bought the parka! She wasn’t so bad. Even if she wasn’t my real mother.
Eventually, I overcame my accidental kidnapping, acquired a job, and bought a double-breasted, navy coat. With a tam I privately tossed like Mary Tyler Moore during her TV show’s theme song, I felt like a star.
Sadly, I forgot the Mary coat in a restroom. Within minutes, it vanished.
Later, a young mother, I cherished a mauve parka with different magic. Diapers and bottles fit in kangaroo-sized pockets. Or a baby in the left one and a toddler in the right.
Only when I stuffed three little ones into snowsuits did I realize my not-real mom should have won a Purple Heart. Every venture outside included a howling smackdown with my son.
Now, he (heh-heh) wrestles his toddlers into snowsuits.
Since then, attractive coats have warmed me, but none possessed Mary magic.
Recently, Hubby took me shopping for a new coat. I almost settled for another serviceable one. Then I spotted it.
A Mary Tyler Moore coat.
With its furry hood, I’ll be super-cool when I brave Midwestern tundra.
Floridians, who never experience such enchantment, eat your hearts out.
Aristotle Onassis, you, too.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever possessed a Mary coat?