Warmth of a coat and kindness

Living in New England, we get the joy of experiencing all of the seasons. With this comes a lot of clothes, from snow pants to bathing suits. Working outside, I have learned the importance of smart layering to keep myself warm, or at least not shivering. I decided to retire my 8-year-old jacket to the trash: Numerous duct tape and super-glue patches later, it was no longer salvageable. I was impressed with the number of years the jacket had endured, and wanted its replacement to be the same brand.

Saving money isn’t the easiest thing to do for a number of reasons, but over the summer I was able to set aside the amount I needed to buy myself the pricey winter jacket I had my heart set on. I pulled the trigger on my big purchase mid-September. I was excited to show off my new purchase to my co-workers, and proud of myself for working extra to help save up for it.

To have saved so much for so long and then to lose the jacket is agonizing. It was last seen on Oct. 16, and is captured in a photo on my phone. The weeks were passing, and I was in denial my jacket was actually missing; I figured it would have turned up. I think I went through the seven stages of grief over this thing. (Please note, I know this is nothing compared to actual grief.) After a month of looking, I entered into acceptance, and now it was time to move on — the weather wasn’t getting any warmer.

A friend tagged me in a post from Maureen Geary Best on the Facebook group MV Stuff for Sale: a teal- and plum-colored three-in-one North Face jacket which happened to be my size. She wanted $80, a good deal for an expensive, barely worn jacket, but more than I had to spend. I messaged her and offered $50. She accepted, and we would meet at the end of the week to see if I wanted it.

I was running on Vineyard time getting to her house, and she was just about to leave to pick up her daughter. We chatted briefly, I told her about how I lost my brand-new jacket I saved up for almost a month ago. I gave her my $50, told her I appreciated the favor of reducing the price for me.

We got into our cars. She left the driveway before me. We came to the stop sign at the end of her road. The car stopped longer than usual, but I didn’t think anything of it and waited. She hopped out of her SUV, came up to my window and gave me the $50 back. Flustered, I said, “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely, please keep it,” she replied with a smile on her face. I think I was too in shock to smile.

She drove away, and I started to tear up with happiness. It wasn’t just about the money. Such a kind gesture for a stranger is truly touching. I wanted to thank her and let her know $50 is a big deal in my world. What she did that night not only made my day, but my winter. If you see a plum Arc’Teryx size small jacket around, please give me a call. If I never see it again, I am happily keeping warm. Thanks to Maureen every time I put it on, I feel thankful, for the jacket, for this Island.

Nicole Jackson is a designer for The MV Times and a stable hand at Red Pony Farm.