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Keeping Cronks warm since 1976

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Reggie wonders why hercuddle time is being disturbed by a photo. She takes a breather on the 42-year-old family afghan.

By DONNA CRONK - dcronk@thecouriertimes.com

The other morning I looked down and there was our Boston Terrier, Reggie, enjoying a cuddle in the comfort of our true-blue afghan.

That piece of handiwork was crocheted as a Christmas present my senior year of high school in 1976. All the kids in the family got one in different arrays of colors that year, made by my sister-in-law Jeannie's mother, Evelyn, who passed away last year.

Who could have possibly guessed that over the next 42 years—and counting—that blanket would not only hold up great, but retain its bright blue hues, machine wash and dry like a dream, and fold neatly on the sofa? 

In the early days of our marriage, Brian recalls us fussing over which one would take possession of the afghan first on a cold winter's night. Known for its extra-long, mega-wide size, it has always been a favorite warmer.

I remember our couple friends who visited on New Year's Eve 1978, where we played Atari. Brian and I had been married just a couple months, and one of our friends realized she was chilling and taking ill that very evening. We swaddled her in the blanket to warm her up. I think it went home with them for the night. 

Once it wrapped a baby niece who was visiting—and went home with her on the ride home in a chilly car. We got it back next time we saw the family.

Older son Sam describes the blanket as a "family heirloom," because our sons have spent their fair share of moments wrapped in the still-serviceable keepsake.

For a while, we thought the afghan was gone for good. It hadn't turned up for a couple years, a mystery. Brian and I remained convinced that it had gone off with son Ben to college when he and three other boys rented a house for two years. We could only speculate—but not dwell—on what had happened to cause the disappearance of the old afghan. One thing for sure, we didn't think we'd ever see it again.

Then one day last year I was rummaging through layers of blankets folded under some throw pillows in an antique family cradle kept upstairs in our home, out of the way. To my astonishment—there was the blue afghan. I don't remember placing it there, but it looks like something only I would have done in an absent-minded way, perhaps in the heat of summer when the need for an ultra-warm afghan was a distant concept.

I quickly summoned Brian with news that what was lost is now found! We were both delighted.

This winter, the afghan is in use again, generally splayed across the sofa after being enjoyed yet again, now by the empty nesters and their dog. And yes, Reggie is quite happy to take her turn under or on top of its thick and cuddly surface.

Here's to you, blue afghan. Long may you warm the chilled and comfort the ill.

Neighbors Editor Donna Cronk is also editor of her magazine for women. She welcomes your story ideas. Give her a call at 765-575-4657 or email: dcronk@thecouriertimes.com.