Man with a magic jacket

One of the coolest pieces of clothing I know is a blue spring jacket. To me, a blue jacket is a true sign of spring, just like running shoes, and a net bag in which I’d carry my soccer ball.

As soon as Mom let me wear running shoes outside, take a soccer ball to the back yard, and wear my blue jacket, winter was over.

When I was twelve, I had a blue winter jacket as well. Most kids in my hockey team had one, a team jacket, as did Mom and Dad, so we, too, made a good-looking team. But Dad also had a blue spring jacket, sort of like a bomber jacket except that wasn’t what we called them then, and it was a little more special than any other jacket I’ve ever seen.

Dad’s jacket was a magic jacket.

bananastand

Since both Mom and Dad had real jobs, none of them was a freelance writer or anything, I spent afternoons alone at home, or at a buddy’s house nearby.

Every day, I would come home from school, play a little with Riku, our dog, make a sandwich or something and then head out, but before I did any of that, I’d pick up the phone and call Mom or Dad at work to let them know I was home safe and sound.

Sometimes it happened that we didn’t have anything to eat at home, and by anything to eat, I mean, anything I wanted to eat. Maybe I wanted to have a lihapiirakka from the store across the street, or maybe I wanted to go the coffee shop with the guys, and who knows, maybe play a round of pajazzo, a Finnish coin game of skill and chance, and while there, grab a banana danish.

jasso

The point is, whatever it was that I wanted to do, sometimes the activity required money. Sometimes I had some money on me, other times I found money in the apartment. A coin here, another there, sitting on tables and bookshelves. And then other times, I didn’t have any money anywhere.

My first point of contact in matters of money was Dad. Not because he was the bread winner, or anything, or because he was the financial brain of the family – after all, Mom has a university degree in business – but because Dad always knew where to find it.

“Hi, Dad. Listen, I was thinking of getting a lihapiirakka, but I don’t have any money here. Do you know if there’s any money around here,” I’d ask him.

And every time, he would give me the same answer.

“I’m not sure, kid, but there may be something in the pockets of my blue jacket. You can have it all,” he’d say. (Except that he didn’t call me “kid”).

I’d walk to the hall, find his jacket hanging on the rack, and put my hand inside his pocket. Sure enough, there was money in his pocket. There’d be coins, always change and only small change, never any bills, which I guess he always carried in his other pockets.

There was also a hole in his pocket and some of the coins had fallen through so I had to dig a little deeper, but I’d dig up a few markkas, a few 50p coins, and a couple of 20p coins, enough to get that lihapiirakka or the danish.

Every time I needed money, Dad told me to look inside his blue jacket. Naturally, it didn’t take me long to figure out that there was always money in the pockets of that blue jacket, but I always called Dad first.

So he could work his magic.

I have a blue spring jacket now. Wife bought it to me as a surprise gift a couple of years ago. It’s not exactly like Dad’s because the ribbed knit cuffs and waistband have white and red stripes, and it’s also a little too long for me, so it doesn’t sit exactly the way I’d like at the waist, but with some careful folding, it’s almost perfect.

Except for one thing. I am yet to find money in its pockets.

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