Yesterday our church bulletin mentioned a need for blankets and sleeping bags to hand out to people who come to our doors. Winter in Hartford challenges us all, but none more so than those who are without homes. Since we are an urban church known for hospitality, such ones come for help.
I remembered Andy and Bax where we bought our blankets and sleeping bags and their title “war surplus.” Then I stopped my time travel and realized that we bought those items in the early 1950’s, in Portland, Oregon, and that I was in Connecticut in 2020. So I would definitely need another source.
But for a brief time I could remember everything about those blankets: their drab color, their scratchy surface, and their warmth. Then I thought of those “mummy” sleeping bags, left over from the Korean War, which released feathers every now and then but were incredibly warm. I took one to camp each summer and stayed toasty. The only challenge was waking up with my face anywhere but in the small opening in front. Trapped backwards in a “mummy” bag was not for the faint of heart.
I never thought about the phrase “war surplus” when I was a kid, but most of our camping gear from the pup tents to the sleeping bags was in fact left over either from World War II or the Korean War. The combat was recently over when I was growing up, and I thought of those soldiers in the freezing winters in Korea when I climbed into my “mummy bag.” I pondered if they ever woke up like me in the night, backwards in the bag, and wondered if their end had come.