It is hard to deny that I am an impulsive buyer, but once in a while that pays off.
In January 2003 I attended a corporate innovation summit at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, and apart from a lot of snow and very long and a treacherous drive back home, a bad development program that never got anywhere, the one positive thing that came out of that trip was a new sweater.
There was an Orvis shop at the hotel, and they had a very attractive Woolrich 100% wool sweater for sale. The price was an outrageous one hundred and twenty dollars, but just after checking out I bit the bullet and bought the brownish-green or greenish-brown piece of clothing and took it home with me.
Almost ten years later, this sweater, that I am wearing as I write this words, is probably the best and most useful piece of gear that I ever bought. I used it to hunt in Michigan, North Dakota, Arkansas, Ontario, South Africa and Uruguay. It is absolute quiet, warm even when it is wet, so well cut that it can be used in social occasions (although it is starting to show signs of age and some damage from brush and brambles).
Along with my Swiss Army Knife (about which I will talk in the future), I don’t think that there is a piece of gear that I ever used more than my Woolrich sweater. The only problem with it is that it is no longer available.
As Gene Hill once mentioned in one of his books, anytime we find a very special piece of gear; be it a hunting jacket, a pair of boots, or a sweater, and we fall in love with it, it goes out of catalog and we will never again be able to find a replacement.
I recently bought another sweater from Orvis; it is a nice Beretta green wool with windshear lining. While it may complement my old Woolrich, it will not replace it.
P.S.: The shotgun in the picture is a little Beretta side-by-side 28 gauge that my mother bought to my father as a wedding gift. This is the gun that my son used to shoot his first bird on the day of my father’s funeral. I tell this story on the very first posting of this blog “Last Bird, First Bird”.