Embracing the tiny, Day 15: Five dollars, long ago

label from a much-beloved scarf On a rare Saturday off from my big, fat advertising job, I took the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan to meet my friend Claudia for a movie.

The weather that was gorgeous and sunny and at least warm-ish when I got on at Park Slope was New-York-awful by the time I emerged from my stop on the Upper West Side.

Desperate for warmth and a half-hour early to meet my friend, I ducked into a nearby shop. Tucked away behind the expensive jackets and coats and sweaters was one sad bin of five-dollar items: damaged or ugly schmatte no one wanted at any price, and a cotton jersey sash that was...passable. (Well, passable as a scarf, anyway; I still can't imagine who'd want a big lump of cotton jersey tied around her waist.)

I figured that at five bucks, even a cheapskate like me could consider it a disposable item. I bought it, wrapped it around my neck, and wore it out of the store—and, then, much to my surprise, pretty much everywhere else for the next 25 years. The skinny stripes in boring, improbable colors (white, tan, taupe) ended up complementing almost everything I owned. The fabric grew softer with each wearing, and softer still with each laundering—it was delicious around my neck. When the blanket stitching wore out, I tucked in the ends. When the material itself gave way, it became my House Scarf.

Last week, the tag finally fell off in the wash. It had hung by a thread for days, much like the dragonfly on my little wish bracelet. When I found it, I chucked it into the God box, just like the dragonfly. I'm not sure what I'm hoping for this time: to slow down the alarmingly fast passage of time? To turn up a new scarf?

Or, most likely, an enduring awareness of the value to be found now and then in very small things.

xxx c

This is Day 15 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.