I don’t know the life expectancy for a beach towel: five years, ten at best before they are threadbare, lost, or stained beyond redemption. I don’t know if there is a fashion among beach towels that would dictate one’s irrelevance after it becomes dated. I have no idea how long others hold onto their beach towels before they replace them – do rich folk get new ones each year while poor folk mend them to prod one more summer. I only know that I have had my Woobie for about thirty years and summer wouldn’t be the same without it.
I’m not sure exactly where I got the Woobie. I know it is was the late 80’s and presumably summer. I vaguely remember a couple of spring break trips with the Woobie by my side. I can name locations but not many details. As to why my memory falters, I will put forth the excuse of age and let you, dear reader, form your own suspicion. I have trouble imagining the state of its early life – forced to wipe up disgusting spills, cover general foolishness and debauchery, and endure infrequent washing. It was pressed into duty as bath towel, kitchen towel, and blanket at times. If I close my eyes and take a deep whiff, the Wobble still smells of bad decisions.
Like its owner, it is relatively amazing that the Woobie left college in one piece. If I could drill into its soul (assuming a towel possesses one), I wonder if it would recollect those as good years or if it would rather have been chosen by a proper family where it would have been used sparingly, laundered properly, and folded regularly. I like to think we were meant to be together – that the Woobie is my towel soulmate.
We moved south and lived through a few bachelor years. Maybe I washed it more, but judging by the state of my first apartment, likely not. Somehow the Woobie wasn’t tossed during the marriage gleaning process when most of the new husband’s possessions find their way to the curb.
As life moved on for me, the Woobie found a nicer closet in which to reside. It was laundered and folded after each use. More work and fewer vacations meant it spent most of its time in the dark. Yet it was there when called upon, even when things changed. Church picnics replaced beach and river parties. Chunky baby’s bottoms blocked out the sun. It covered a little one worn out from building castles in the sand and it held arm floaties, wakeboards, sunscreen, and goggles instead of red solo cups with nary a complaint. Always there for me… now us.
Whenever we get out the beach towels, nobody tries to take it. My kids recognize the Woobie as mine and hand it to me. Maybe it is out of respect, but I suspect it is because they think it ugly and not nearly as soft as newer, more expensive towels. And that’s okay. We all get saggy and rough around the edges with age. We’ve been through too much together to worry about things like that.
I believe anyone can mature… grow… change… and be redeemed – go from something worth less to something of infinite and eternal value.
Does that pertain to a beach towel with a name? I don’t know. But when I look back at my own life, I’m just happy the Woobie came along for the ride.
I hereby set forth my desire right now to be covered with the Woobie in my coffin when the time comes. No shirt. No shoes. Just one special beach towel. That way, when people walk past at my viewing, they’ll be left to wonder if I am wearing pants into the next life… peek at your own risk!