ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 60: Ernie’s Army Coat
I don’t know how I’ll ever organize this writing.
It’s all in longhand. I just pile chapter atop chapter. Stacks of chapters surround me. I’ve finally begun to date and staple each chapter so at least I know the order of them. At first I didn’t even do this. What a mess.
Ernie was not only a genius writer but a genius at order. Perhaps he was a genius at giving orders, too, like a general. In the winter, he wore an olive Army coat Joshua bought at a thrift shop when he was in high school. The coat’s long, with deep pockets, and has a removable wool lining. Ernie quickly claimed it. Veterans occasionally came up to him, recognizing its shoulder patch, and Ernie always said: “Yeah, I was in the Battle of the Bulge.”
Back then I thought Ernie a liar, but that wasn’t it at all. He thought of himself as a soldier, a fighter; his life as a battle. He wore the Army coat on trips to the hospital, to medical appointments. In warm months he took the coat with him, stashing it in the trunk of the car. It was his morale booster. It put him in fight mode.
I guess I need my own Army coat now.