Worn but Still Worn

Saturday my 10 year old son was wearing jeans with holes in the knees…under which he was wearing long johns with holes in the knees. “Dude, your knees have to be cold. Go change and bring me those pants.”

He said, “Old clothes are just more comfortable.” He changed but returned wearing jeans with a smaller hole. I asked Julie to get some iron-on patches while she was out.

20 years ago I raised open gilts on the hog lot for a nearby producer. He also kept a vasectomized boar with them so they could AI more easily later. My job was to call when the feeders ran low, give a shot if needed and scrape the floors clean. I did all that but I also played with the piggies. One warm winter day I had my coat unzipped as I scraped the floor. One of the girls gave an affectionate tug to the sleeve of my coat…so affectionate she pulled it right off me. Good thing I had it unzipped or I would have gone down. Off she ran, dragging my winter work coat through the manure. Thanks piggy.

So I bought a new Carhartt coat. 20 years ago. For years it would stand in the corner by itself. They take forever to break in. This time I bought a quilted coat instead of a blanket-lined one. I’m still not sure I like the lining. But I can tell you this, it’s warm and comfortable. Even with holes in the wrists, along the bottom edge and all along the zipper.



I don’t think there is any magic to Carhartt. Their zippers seem to hold up but I suspect a real farmer can’t make a coat last for 20 years. Just a computer guy who wears his coat for about an hour or two each day in the winter. Julie bought one around 1996 and finally had to swap it out two years ago.

But I want my wife and children to look nice. We don’t have all the money in the world but surely we can wear long johns that don’t have holes worn in the knees. But my coat? I don’t know. It is comfortable.

8 thoughts on “Worn but Still Worn

  1. When my wife and I were married she had a bright yellow wool sweater that was too large for her. I started wearing it to work around the house. First one hole, then another until eventually there were too many holes to count, but I continued to wear the sweater. It kept me warm and was comfortable. Until one day she refused to go to the market with me if I wore the sweater. I compromised with here and agreed to wear the sweater only at home. I wore it 2 more years.
    I now have a Carhartt jacket and fully expect it to last at least 20 years.

    P.S. During high school in the late 60’s the cool kids at my school were the ones with the most patches on their jeans.

  2. My girls buy NEW jeans with holes in them, but will not be seen with me if I wear my farm jeans to the store by mistake (one pair has a big split on the knee).

    My winter farm jacket is an old Navy heavy weather jacket which I acquired in 1984 when they phased those jackets out and replace them with Mustang floater coats. My old jacket was old then – it has KEELING across the back – I worked with a Chief Keeling in 1981, and he was getting ready to retire at that point – if he had ever fitted in that jacket of mine, it had to have been a few years before I met him when he could have been a mall Santa with no requirement for padding. So if we say that the jacket was new in 1980 for easy math, it is 35 years old, and still an awesome jacket, though I have ripped the fabric on one arm when I snagged on a nail. It ‘s a bulky thing to wear because it’s filled with kapok, and you can’t get it too wet, or it won’t dry out (makes sense for the Navy, right? we used to wear canary gear over them). I’ve fallen in the drink in one of these jackets (not this one) and just about sank like a rock. Not fun. But for farming, where a klutz like me can’t really drown? Perfect.

  3. Filson is the work coat of choice around here, does that stuff make it to the midwest? Actually I can’t let loose of my down vests, they work the best for warmth and freedom of movement, and keep my arms from being so bound up feeling. Once the ripstop starts rotting, and the feathers float to the milk bucket I have to let go, so sad to get rid of the old ones.

  4. My ‘farm’ parka has to be at least 30 years old – and looks it. I’ve always said – everything comes from the ground and spends its life trying to go back to the ground. This parka has been trying to go back to the ground for at least ten years. Awful to wash because of its weight, and the fireman buckle latches over the zipper- and it has now taken on an odd smell – but the animals don’t mind it and it’s warm. I’d probably buy another if I could find one like it but I can’t. My Carhart doesn’t come close for comfort

  5. the carhartt pants I stole from my hubby are about broken in, and they sure do stand up on their own since I just can’t bring myself to wash them often since they get immediately dirty again. I love the image of the gilt running off with your jacket.

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