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A Door To The Past

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A Door To The Past 


This spring Gary Peters and I took out a camera crew from Discover Wisconsin to chase trout.  I got to Gary's house early and we talked a while. Gary was sporting a very unique flannel shirt.  He told me he was gifted it by a friend.  It was a vintage Woolrich Chamois Flannel. I admired it and asked what size it was.  I felt it and was impressed by the thickness and how supple it was. He guessed it was about 35 years old.   Gary's vintage shirt was what stuck with me the most from the outing.  I could not put my finger on what it was.

I decided I must find a shirt like Gary's in my size.  Two weeks later it came in the mail.  I found it on hsolist and it costed less then 20 bucks with postage. As I opened the package and admired it a long dormant memory from my childhood peaked through a door from the past.

I was in Reber's Gas Station and I was seven years old again. Reber's was where all of my Dad's outdoors friends met there on Sunday mornings to tell tales about their outdoor conquests.  The tales varied from pheasant hunting to trout fishing.  Some of the tellers of tales wore their newest jackets or flannels. It was kind of a men's fashion show in the 1960s there at Reber's.  I can't remember which one of the guys had on a new Woolrich flannel shirt but there was one and all of the crew there wowed and coveted the prized Chamois Flannel.

The crew broke up typically after church was over.  They went to pick up their children and wives at the church. I can remember talking to my dad about that flannel shirt and he told that he spent his extra money on family and actual hunting and fishing gear.  My dad typically wore a dickey's work shirt.  It had no bling like the Woolrich.  There were six children in our family.  My dad hunted and fished to put food on the table. He could not afford the fancy fashion shows at the gas station.  My mom use to kid dad that he only produced so many kids so he would eventually have at least one to take with him so he could get twice the fish and another deer and more pheasants.  My mom was not kidding.

My dad's plans did not come to fruition because he left the earth at age 40 when he was up north deer hunting with his brother. My dad died of a heart attack.  My mother was left to raise six children by herself. I remember the first Christmas after my dad died.  I got sox and underwear. Looking back on those days my mother did one heck of a job keeping all of us in clothing and feeding us.

That flannel Gary was sporting while we fished opened that door to the past.  For years I was envious of all of the other kids I went to school with. Getting necessities for Christmas instead of presents a kid with a dad who was a lover of the outdoors got was hard to tolerate.

I did not even realize I was influenced by my past so much. I am retired these days and my wife still works.  Our one daughter is an adult and works and has her own money.  I use to fish and hunt.  I was a fanatic I admit it.  My wife and daughter will not eat anything I hunted.  I sold my guns 15 years ago.  Hunting just to kill or horn hunt was not what my dad had taught me hunting was about. I even donated my venison to local food bank for a couple years.  I hung up my bow and deer rifle.  I still am a fishing maniac.  I love my good gear.

I would like to step back in time and open that door to the past and sit in my dad's chair in Reber's Station on Sunday mornings and sport my Woolrich.  I am still a fanatic about outdoor gear.  I could buy new flannel shirts but there is something about the older Woolrich. Woolrich has changed hands and does not make the outdoor related theme shirts anymore.  My wife asked me if I am done every time a vintage Woolrich shirt is in the mailbox that I purchased on hsolist.  I believe I am done.



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