Just A Blanket: A Little Iowa Story

Blanket Sometimes Gracefully

We took a trip down to Iowa over the weekend to see my sister perform in what might have been her very last musical performance before she graduates from college next spring, and I completely forgot to pack our camera. A blogger who takes a road trip and forgets to bring her camera to document the adventure. Welcome to Sometimes Gracefully, everybody.

The only moment I managed to capture was this iPhone 5 quality moment from our windy morning at our alma mater’s lacrosse game. The very first lacrosse game I’ve ever attended, actually. But sister’s boyfriend plays for the team, so we stood on the sidelines together cheering for the team and hoping that the Iowa wind gods would recognize that I forgot my windbreaker jacket (along with our dang camera) back home in Minneapolis. How could I have forgotten about the biting Iowa wind? Don’t let the sunshine in my grainy iPhone photo fool you, my friend. Iowa in October is cold.

 But as I was standing and watching and shivering next to Darrin, an elderly man watching the game farther down the sideline approached me with a plaid, red blanket draped over his arm.

“My wife and I are going for a walk, and you looked cold,” he said. “Take my blanket! We won’t be needing it!”

I asked him if he was sure that he wouldn’t be needing this extra layer of warmth for the duration of the game. No need for him to be cold when he brought his own blanket. But when he told me that he’d be fine, I thanked him again and again.

“Oh it’s just a blanket,” he responded, forcing his folding chair back into its travel bag. “We may go home, actually, so you can keep it with you all day if you’d like. When you’re done, just drop it off in our garage. The house is easy to find. We’re in the phone book.”

He gave me and Darrin his name (not his address. he’s in the phone book, you know), kindly asked about who we were and how we were connected to the college, and then walked home with his wife while I wrapped myself in his flannel blanket. Instantly feeling both physically and spiritually warmer, to be honest.

I suppose sometimes (and most times) a blanket is just a blanket. But then there are those other times when a blanket is just something more.

Whatever the case, I felt compelled to document the blanket on my iPhone. Some moments are worth remembering. Even if the picture quality is grainy.

We did figure out our new friend’s address before we headed back home to Minneapolis that evening. Darrin bought him and his wife a big chocolate bar that we left tucked inside their blanket, along with a note thanking them for their kindness. Darrin and I will be heading back down to Sioux Center, IA this week to speak on a panel of graduate students, and we couldn’t be more excited. There’s nothing quite like small town America.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a great week! Darrin and I are stoked about our Halloween costumes…stay tuned!


  • Reply Brittany October 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    That is the sweetest story. Sounds like you had a guardian angel. 🙂

  • Reply Ash | QuintessentiallyMe.co.uk October 27, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    A lovely story. Have a wonderful Halloween.

    Love from London,

    | http://www.quintessentiallyme.co.uk

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