Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The mackinaw is a jacket of densely woven wool. It is and has been since its creation available in many colors. But my guess is that if you ever had one it was either red or blue plaid, most likely red. The story I heard had a seamstress contracted by a military commander to produce jackets for the men at the fort, which fort was located in the Great Lakes region and whose name I have forgotten. Suffice it to say that it was in the Mackinac region, and hence the moniker eventually attached to the jacket. As the tale goes, the tailor used military blankets as source for material but ran out of the standard color before the order was complete. Hence she utilized red plaid blankets, and the most recognizable of the mackinaws has existed ever since. Timeframe of creation: early nineteenth century.
I have heard this clothing item referred to as a "lumberjack shirt" since it is popular amongst those workers in the north woods.
My mackinaw was plaid in the color shown at the top of this article. I no longer have it, nor is it likely to be replaced. If you have one you might want to hold on to it. If you have purchased a new one recently you have a larger clothing budget than I have. Or you did have.
Our neighbors in the Land to the North have adopted the mackinaw such that it has virtually become a representative icon of those hardy Northlanders.
You may thank my wee-hours ruminations for this post. If one is not asleep he has to fill the time with something.*
*On the downside of being 80, sleeplessness in the wee hours is common. But
on the upside, I don't have to get up and go to work in the morning. However,
on the downside, nobody cares if I get up or not. But
on the upside, I really don't care what people think. Yet
on the downside, no one may find my desiccated carcass for weeks, But
on the upside, I may be in heaven for weeks before the devil knows I died.
On the downside, some may find this macabre or morbid.
On the upside, see line four above.