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The Moose Sweater speaks


Moose sweater back Well, the jackass finally got me out of his closest. I’ve been hanging on a hook in the back of that dust trap since September. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. The only thing to look at: a buncha shirts on hangers, ties he never wears, a pile of shoes and a weird, white track suit from Czechoslovakia….factory made…polyester…yiissh.

Ah, I shouldn’t be so rough on old Mark. He rescued me from Wisconsin last summer. Found me on a rack… at a bag sale. A bag sale at a picnic pavilion in a little town called Frederick. They only wanted 50-cents for me. Fifty cents!?!? He gave’em five bucks. The money went to some little kid with a degenerative brain disease. They had hospital pictures of him in a photo album. So sad. I hope the kid’s all right.

Anyway, him and his wife, Jen, and some red-headed flatlanders from Iowa, took me back to a cabin. A couple-a days, later Mark and Jen took me to their house in St. Paul. I thought: “This is it, I’m stuck in St. Paul, Minnesota.” Moose can’t survive in Minnesota. Not enough woods.

Then it happened. A Moose Miracle.

Mark threw me in a box and drove me Maine.

Mark and Jen brought me HOME.

Maine is where I was born. Miss Connie made me. Took’er five weeks back in 1982. At camp near Haymock Lake. That’s in Northeast Piscataquis,…about 7,000 miles north of anything.

Miss Connie gave me to Grampa Lou for his 65th birthday present. What a hoot. Grampa Lou was a  moose hunter. Got his first one in 1937.

Grampa Lou lived in Old Town. Worked in the office at a lumber mill for 40 years. He wore me to the Legion. Wore me to his grandson’s football games. Wore me to camp. He only wore me five years. Then he got sick.

His oldest daughter thought it best to move him to Wisconsin. She lived in Madison with her family. They got better hospitals in Wisconsin, she said. Everyone agreed. I dunno. They sold his house and put me in a van with old pictures, some books and a black leather recliner. He never wore me in Wisconsin.

When Grampa Lou died they gave me to Goodwill. Somehow I wound up in Frederick. I spent a lot of time in Frederick doin’ nothin.’ I was always “too heavy,” “too scratchy,” “too big,” “too goofy.”

Then Mark found me.

Last night, Mark wore me to Nicky’s Drive Inn on Union Street in Bangor. Nice place. Orange Formica booths. 1950s Main Street mural on the wall. Mark had a cheeseburger and onion rings. Jen had baked macaroni and cheese. They split a “Betty,” an ice cream sandwich shaped like a hockey puck, covered in chocolate sauce and surrounded with whipped cream. I wish sweaters could eat.Moose sweater front

After Nicky’s, Mark and Jen went to the Bangor Auditorium to see the Class C Eastern Maine High School Boys Basketball Championship game. Penquis Valley beat Houlton 46-41. Great game. It was the last tournament game in the old auditorium. The place is almost 60 years old. They’re gonna tear it down this summer.

Mark took me off at halftime, while the band played “Sweet Caroline.” He folded down a varnished blonde-wood seats and laid me over the metal arm rests next to him. I rubbed against a hand-painted number on the seat back, looked up at the corrugated metal roof  slopping down toward the basketball court and listened to the noise. It was loud, wild and sloppy. It sounded like Maine.

I can’t wait until he takes me out of the closet again.

  1. John Freed permalink

    This is a great way to tell the story!

  2. David Ferrara permalink

    Your wit never ceases to impress. At the risk of exposing my feminine side- this was a very “cute” article!

  3. The Billings Family permalink

    Thank you for this great story. My husband’s family lives in Maine( we are in TN), they live in Bradford. Bangor is one of the prettiest cities I have seen. My husband would have definitely paid at least $50 for the sweater. He has great memories of Maine. Once again, thank you for sharing! If the moose decides he wants to retire to a warmer climate let me know, we could provide a great winter home for him. Thank you, Michelle

    • Thanks. I love the sweater. The Moose sweater just wore me to an Elvis Costello concert in Orono, ME. The post will be up soon.

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