I Guess That’s Why They’re Called Comforters

by Curt Kovener        

I dismissed some mild stomach and queasiness as eating something that didn’t agree with me. By mid-morning the stomach pains sharpened to occasional bolts of electricity of the 220 volt variety and I began to make frequent trips to the bathroom.

Now I had gotten a flu shot a month or so sooner so I wasn’t concerned.

Besides, I had planned a day in the woods clearing some trees and burning brush. It would keep my mind off whatever was bothering my body and may even work it out of my system.

Sure enough, stacking and burning all afternoon and my mind didn’t wander to my stomach a single time.

But it was quite a walk to and from the work site, up and down some rather steep hills, and by the time I had returned to the wilderness retreat, I was extremely worn out.

By the time I dragged myself to the house I was tired and achy. Sitting on the couch a couple of shivers shook my weary body.

But after another trip to the porcelain room, I came to the realization that some bug was definitely trying to wreck havoc with my body.

Shivering and not being able to warm up I got out my Granny’s old comforter. It is a heavy, heavy bed cover pieced together with squares of recycled cloth.

There are pieces of my Gramp’s old suits, cut apart when they became worn out. There are pieces of flannel, corduroy, velveteen, and what appears to be some upholstery material all having former lives probably back to the early 1900’s.

Whatever it is stuffed with is certainly heavier than the usual quilting. I was given the old comforter in the early 1980’s after Granny and Gramp has passed on. Granny left this life in 1967 so I know this comforter is old.

While I don’t remember her working on this particular one, as a youngster, I can recall Granny sitting in her wooden rocking chair first cutting then pinning and finally hand stitching together squares of former suits, dresses, heavy curtains and robes to craft warm comforters for the kinfolks’ winter bedrooms.

These creations were like Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’, “…I thought we were rich, because I knew of all the love that she sewed in every stitch.”

I don’t use the comforter regularly in the winter. It is old, it is an heirloom; I don’t want to risk damaging it. But Granny’s comforter is put to use for special occasions when I am feeling ill. Maybe it’s the warmth from its sheer weight or maybe it’s the grandmotherly love reaching across the years embracing me that helps keep me warm when I’m feeling particularly puny.

After sinking between flannel sheets topped with Granny’s Comforter, I shivered a couple time more and then drifted off to a deep sleep aided in part to a couple of shots of whiskey… something Granny would have never condoned with her comforter.

The morning’s alarm clock sounded and I awoke not feeling any chills, my stomach didn’t hurt, and didn’t feel any urgent need to hurry to the bathroom.

Maybe it was just a 24-hour bug, or maybe it was because of Granny’s Comforter caring for me throughout the night.