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My equivalent of the black hooded sweatshirt. It's exactly what the node title says, an old green field jacket that my father got army surplus when he was in high school. Yes, it's that old. New field jackets have velcro. Mine is pre-velcro. Buttons instead of velcro, at least in the places where they haven't yet fallen off. The jacket's exterior layer has been ripped, torn, and restitched in more places than I can count. The edges of the collar and the sleeves are frayed and dry rotting. Many of the tears are irreparable, the fabric having unraveled away, leaving nothing left to stich back into place. Over the years, I have put many patches on it. They are, for the most part, generic military patches that just looked nice, their drab colors blending well with the green of the jacket. On the left shoulder however, is a circular patch, a bright blue field, on which rests a winged yellow eight, with a white star in the lower circle. It is the 8th airforce patch from my grandfather's WWII uniform. He was a B-17 pilot. With all of it's stitches, flaws and patches, it is very much a frankenstein of a jacket.

I love it anyway. The inside of the jacket remains perfect. The fabric is smooth, and cool to the touch. When I slide it over my arms, and onto my shoulders, it is like being wrapped in pure, cool, comfort. Despite that, it is incredibly warm. It has an old smell to it, which can only be described as field jacket smell. It is a little too big, which makes it an excellent blanket. The cuffs hang down over my hands to my knuckles, and the pockets are huge. I can drop random objects and totems into them (lego men, writing implements, oddly shaped D&D dice), over and over again, and they never seem to be filled. Every time I wear it, a flood of memories rushes over me. Hiking and climbing at Hanging Rock with my friends in the late fall. Lying on the floor of the basement with my high-school girlfriend, watching movies from under a field jacket blanket. Endless miserable grey winter days, when I just wanted the whole world to fade away, walking with my head down, my hands shoved deep into the pockets, finding some minute solace there. Countless camping trips and visits to friends when it was folded into a pillow, because I forgot to bring a proper one.

It is slowly falling apart. Each year the old tears in the fabric grow, and a few new ones develop. New stains and chemicals are added, leaning into the engine compartment of my car on the side of the road. I worry about how long it will last, how long it will physically stay wrapped around me. My family and a few of the people I know nag me about it's condition, about how it makes me look like a homeless person. I keep saying to myself that it ought to be retired, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe I will wear it until it disentegrates around me, and I am left standing cold and alone under the desolate winter sky, without my armor, my protection.

On the inside of the jacket, the army was considerate enough to stamp a little poem. It is old and faded now, the details of the letters run together, but I can still make it out for the most part. I shall leave it to you in closing summation:

     JACKET, SHELL, FIELD, M-1951
     OAKWOOD MFG. CO., INC.
     PATT. DATE 7 NOV. 1952
     16 APRIL 1953. TAP1234
     SPEC. NO. MIL-J-11448
     A.S.T.P.A.
     INSPECTOR _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     JACKET, SHELL, FIELD, M-1951
 1. WEAR AS THE OUTER GARMENT IN COLD-WET CLIMATES
     AND THE INTERMEDIATE GARMENT IN COLD-DRY CLIMATES.
 2. WEAR ALONE IN MILD WEATHER.
 3. FOR COLD WEATHER, BUTTON IN LINER JACKET,
     FIELD, M-1951.
 4. TIGHTEN WAIST AND SKIRT DRAWSTRINGS AND SLEEVE
     CLOSURES FOR WARMTH-LOOSEN TO VENTILATE. AVOID
     OVERHEATING TO PREVENT CHILLING AFTER EXERCISE.
 5. BUTTON ON HOOD FOR HEAD AND FACE PROTECTION.
 6. BRUSH SNOW AND FROST FROM GARMENTS BEFORE
     ENTERING HEATED SHELTERS.
 7. DRY GARMENTS SEPARATELY.
 8. DO NO DRY TOO CLOSE TO HEAT.
 9. WATER REPELLENCY MAY BE RESTORED BY TREATMENT.
 10. LUBRICATE ZIPPER WITH GRAPHITE OR CANDLE WAX.

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