What The Hudson Bay Blanket Means


About 30 years ago, Jeff and I invested in a Hudson Bay blanket.  A queen-sized beauty, made of hundred percent wool in a creamy off-white, with the four bars of colour across the bottom and top, the black ‘notches’ on the side. I say invested because it cost back then about $300.  I have no  idea what they sell for now, but back then, boy was that a lot of money. However, we had just been transferred from Florida to Maine, and it was cold.  I mean, cold.

I don’t like sleeping in warm rooms and I’m pretty cheap when it comes to paying for things like heat and hydro, so turning down the heat at night is pretty standard for me, and I don’t turn it up that high during the day!

Poor ol’ Jeff. This is man who was born Texas, but raised in Buffalo, someone who used to be a competitive ski racer (downhill and cross country) and ski jumper, who now teaches skiing and works ski races, but whose favourite season is summer because he doesn’t like being cold. Yes, I do see the walking oxymoron that this is, but he has freckles and fixes things and I love him anyway.

And he must love me because he doesn’t complain, much, about sleeping in a 15 degree house.  Of course, we have flannel sheets and a down duvet, and that wonderful, glorious, one ton blanket. Sometimes I think the biggest reason it keeps us warm is that heavy weight. The first night the Hudson Bay blanket was on the bed, I had a dream about my sister’s Newfoundland dog sleeping in the bed with us. Let’s not be too Freudian about this – sometimes a dog is just a blanket.

Anyway, what brings this all to mind is that it’s been really cold the past couple of nights.  Maine sort of cold.  And for the first time this winter, we got out the Hudson Bay blanket from the cedar chest, and shook it out on the bed.  It smelt faintly of red cedar and between that lovely odour and the fabulous weight, we were asleep before the minty Crest goodness wore off.

Baby sleep.  Big baby sleep.

It’s never the same after the first time, but my, that first time is always so lovely. Well, maybe not the first time for everything but definitely the first time every winter when the Hudson Bay blanket goes on the bed.

But I want to say something else about sleeping in cold weather. There are too many of us who don’t have walls around them, never mind the comfort of a warm blanket. Some are homeless by choice – their inner demons cannot or will not let them rest in any place that feels to them confined.  Some are homeless through no fault of their own – changes in life and fortune can happen on a dime and for reasons that may very well be beyond their control.

And there some of us who may have walls and even good blankets, which is just as well because they don’t have the means to pay for heat if they also want to buy food or even just keep those walls.

Jeff and I having to be very cautious right now with how we’re spending money – mostly not, if we can avoid it, and only on those things that we have to have or bills we have to pay.  But I’m sending some money today to the United Way to add to their heating fund.  It won’t be much, but what we can.

It’s about sharing, it’s about belief, it’s about doing the right thing.

Baby sleep.  This is what helps give us baby sleep.

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One thought on “What The Hudson Bay Blanket Means

  1. As you might, or might not know I spent the first week of January filling in for the office manager at the UW and reading this held some meaning for me. Winter Warmth is a heating and utility program that helps those that are needing financial assistance and there are a lot even within these 2 very large, very rural counties that are struggling. Your donation will help towards easing the worry and the frustration of someone in need. And random acts of kindness are something very special.

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