Monday, December 6, 2021



When it comes to making clothes last a while, I have been known to excel. Last summer (2021) I popped on an orange T-shirt that says, “Paul Bunyan Show 1984.” The 37-year-old shirt, which I wear a couple of times a year, has a nice soft velvety feel and still fits. I earned it as a “prize” for standing on a log, which was rolling in a pond of cold water, for approximately one second.

After I put together the photos for my book, “Journeys: Finding Joy on Horseback,” I did a double-take when I noticed I was wearing the same blue-jean vest in several photos from different eras. It is easy to spot because of the white cotton pieces attached to each breast pocket. The vest shows up in six photos throughout the book, including in the cover photo (I’ll let you find the rest). The earliest photo is from The 1983 Ride and the latest is from The Y2K Ride.

Now a vest is an extremely handy garment—especially when it comes to horseback rides. The pockets can be stuffed full of very useful things a rider might want if they are parted from their equine partner. Food, matches, paper and pen, knife, tissues, cell phone and so on. Plus, a vest adds a layer of protection from weather while not adding a lot of weight or heat (depending on the material).

“Hmmm,” I thought, “I know I’ve worn that vest in recent years.”

I was pretty sure I knew exactly where it was. But before I could launch my search I happened to sell my 1988 Ford Bronco. I had used the Bronco to pull my Featherlite horse trailer for many years and each trip I added at least one more useful item to the back seat. My helpful husband tossed everything from the vehicle into large black bags which got tucked away in the barn for future sorting.

Eventually sorting day came and I was halfway through the second bag when to my wondering eyes appeared a dark blue vest with a patch of cotton adorning one breast pocket. It was even in reasonably good shape, although a bit dusty and missing one cotton patch. I looked more closely at the remaining cotton patch and realized all these years I’d been wearing a fishing vest. In fact, the label says, “100% cotton, WALKER®, The Ultimate Fishing Vest (made in Hong Kong, of course).

The patches are intended to attach various fish lures and in fact they are called “fly patches,” indicating the vest would be popular for fly fishing. An online search quickly showed several vintage (1970s) vests exactly like mine for sale from $32.99 to $60. I probably paid ten bucks for my vest when it was new. Then I found replacement fly patches online, which I ordered.

Now all I need to do is launder my vintage vest (carefully), attach a new fly patch and I can add a valuable skill set—fly fishing from horseback.

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