The Case of The Missing Blue Poncho

 

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“There’s nothing better than a car full of women with twenty years of life to catch up on, stuck in the lineup at the border”

What does an all-girls weekend call for? Why crossing the border of course. There’s nothing better than a car full of women with twenty years of life to catch up on, stuck in the lineup at the border. The destination was Fairhaven, Washington, which was founded in the late 1880s but after two decades became part of the City of Bellingham. It had been recommended by a friend so I knew it would be a great art destination, but none-the-less, I was impressed with, not only the cute shops, but with the sense of history that doesn’t really exist in Vancouver.

The first stop was food, because, well, there’s also nothing that makes a girl hungrier than chatting with her friends for two hours.  The gem we found was Jalepeños, Mexican Grill & Cantina. They had patio seating and spectacular food – grilled, just as the name promised.

“There is a moment in the shopping experience when you know you are in the right place and you are about to be wowed”

And then the rare bliss of just wandering the streets and discovering what was in our path. The moment I realized this was a bloggable experience was when I walked into Good Earth Pottery. There is a moment in the shopping experience when you know you are in the right place and you are about to be wowed. It feels something like a pause, and then a deep, full breath. Then your eyes skirting over what’s in front of you and looking for what catches your eye. Blues, purples, browns and greens … it was pure eye candy. I introduced myself at the front counter and discovered that the shop had been there since 1969. A true historic fixture in Fairhaven. I dragged myself away from the lovely blue travel mugs and we continued our meander through the quaint streets of Fairhaven.

“I consciously slowed down my beating heart, which was trying to tell me I was in love …”

Other discoveries included a bookstore and coffee shop – Village Books – and the Fairhaven Antique Mall selling an adorable pair of blue cowgirl boots. I consciously slowed down my beating heart, which was trying to tell me I was in love, and we headed off to stroll along the beach. Somewhere along the way, the blue poncho I had tucked over my purse slipped off and, unseen, fell to the ground. It wasn’t until we were in the car and almost ready to head back to Vancouver that I realized it was missing. It was irrational, but I felt devastated. I have always loved ponchos. When I was a young girl I owned a red and blue poncho that I wore until it was nearly in shreds and I could no longer fit it over my head. Ever since, I always check the racks in the thrift stores for the perfect poncho. I own about five of them now, all in different colours and styles. This was my blue poncho, and I didn’t have another one quite like it.

“You know who your true friends are when they drop everything for something that would seem silly to anyone else …”

You know who your true friends are when they drop everything for something that would seem silly to anyone else, but they know by the look in your eyes that this matters. We retraced our steps starting back at the bookstore – no luck in the lost and found – and the antique store – they were closed, but I could see the cowgirl boots through the window and no sign of my lovely blue poncho – and finally to the beach where we went for our walk. We split up and headed in different directions. As I walked around the bend of the path, I saw something blue resting on the back of the bench and knew immediately what it was. Passersby must have thought I was loony because I just started smiling as I walked towards it. I snatched it off the bench – saying a quick “thank you” in my head to whoever had kindly put it there – and almost skipped my way back to where my friends were.

“I wonder if you took a trip back to your childhood if you would discover that you too had a cloak of power”

What was it that made my heart sink when I realized that poncho was missing? It would have been easy enough to find something similar. I even sort of know how to knit and could have made myself one in the same colour. No, it wasn’t anything logical, it was purely a matter of the heart. My ponchos have become symbols of comfort, strength and even preparedness. They are like a bridge that joins the little girl in me who needs to feel safe, with the woman in me, who is ready for any adventure. Like the Elven cloaks the hobbits wore, my ponchos are my cloaks that hide me from my enemies and guide me on my path. Can a piece of clothing really be all of that, you ask? I wonder if you took a trip back to your childhood if you would discover that you too had a cloak of power.  And I wonder if, even now, you pull out that cloak once in awhile when you’re feeling a little weak and put it around your shoulders to bolster your courage. Not that you really need it anymore now that you’re grown up … but you never know, right?


 

 

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