Hudson Bay to the Rescue

As you know from yesterday, our furnace motor went out early Saturday morning and we have been in the cold all week-end. The house was down to 62 degrees this morning and I must say that living with a fireplace going for heat is something that we haven’t done ever before. To cut to the end of the story, the motor was replaced this afternoon and as I write this, the house temperature is back to 72 and all is back to normal.

But it was an interesting couple of days, and I admit that I was transported back to my childhood by this most unlikely event. You see, it all started with my grandfather. He was was of those guys who believed that you only bought things once – and that meant that you had to buy the best because it lasted pretty much forever. Of course, sometimes clothes and cars wore out, but his tools and things like that were always top of the line and expected to withstand the test of time.

I don’t want you to get the idea that Grandpa was pretentious, because nothing could be further from the truth. But he did believe that if you took care of your things, they would take care of you – and that’s how I was raised. My mother grew up the same way. In fact, Grandpa bought as much as he could at a store in downtown Chicago, on Wabash Street, called VL&A. It later became a subsidiary of Abercrombie and Fitch, and although it’s quite different from the old days, Abercrombie is still a destination for clothes, although now, for younger folks.

The original VL&A store went bankrupt years ago – I remember my mother crying when the news broke – but the store had great memories for us. I even remember that went I went to boy scout camp, Grandpa took me there to get my gear for the summer. My sleeping bag, canteen, mosquito netting, cot and everything else I had was from VL&A. In fact, I still have the hatchet that Grandpa bought me for camp when I was 13. Great memories….

Anyway, on one trip to VL&A, before Mom was even born, Grandpa bought several Hudson Bay blankets. Now for those of you who are very young, you probably don’t know what those are. Well, let me tell you – they’re the best you can get. They are off-white in color with bold Black, yellow, red and green stripes – made of pure wool, and manufactured in England. There were also several other patterns as well, but the broad stripe is the most famous pattern. In fact, the Hudson Bay Company was incorporated back in 1670 and if you look hard enough, you can still find them at special stores – of course, they are price prohibitive for most of us.

As a young boy, when the weather was getting cold, Grandpa would break out the blankets and every so often, my brother Doug and I would get to sleep under them. It was really something else – I guess it didn’t take too much to keep us entertained. We always heard the story about the wool and even Mom talked about the memories that she had sleeping under the blankets as a young girl. Eventually, I lost track of the Hudson Bay blankets, especially after Mom died, but Janet knew right where they were.

Sure enough, Janet went upstairs to one of our closets and there they were! I absolutely couldn’t believe it – it was like I had travelled back in time more than 50 years to the last time I remember sleeping under one. I have to admit I was a little bit taken by surprise. I had forgotten that we had them. And let’s face it, with modern technology, lighter fabrics and reliable heating, most people would never have need of such heavy blankets. But we did!

Well, Saturday night, I slept like a log. And again on Sunday night. I am kind of disappointed that we won’t need them this evening. So I guess they will make their way back to the closet – but isn’t it amazing that these blankets are more than 90 years old and still as good as the day they were new. Unbelievable…

It was a little slice of the past. Feeling all bundled up, safe and secure, kind of like when you have a really good encounter with God and you feel much the same way. Like all is right with the world and nothing can go wrong, at least for the time being. I just love it when I have those kind of interactions with God.

Anyway, the verse for this evening is a very short one. It has to do with God’s comment to Jeremiah that the people of God would rejoice when they left captivity after the exile. In Jer. 31:26, we are told that Jeremiah remarked after his encounter with God,  “At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.” Isn’t that the truth…

My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God is standing by to give you rest and watch over you as you sleep. My prayer is that God will continue His relationship with you, even when you are sleeping – He’s that awesome… and you know what? You’ll have the best night’s sleep you ever had, even if it’s not under a Hudson Bay – but they’re pretty awesome, also. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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