The Finest was a record shop in Greeley Colorado that closed in 2009. (http://archives.collegian.com/2009/10/18/done_with_records_the_finest_deals_in_rumination/)
I spent 2 weeks every July from 1995 to 2000 in Greeley Colorado, attending a summer camp called Summer Enrichment Program hosted at University of Northern Colorado. It was a great place where I made friends with other weird and gifted kids from all over the US and took classes in improv theater, journalism, and debate. Others did photography and ceramics and robotics and music. It was truly a privilege to have parents with the trust and the money to send me out there, year after year.
However, my favorite souvenir from those summers isn’t something I got from the camp or the college that hosted it. It was a hoodie from The Finest, bought by my dad, before he dropped me off at camp. My dad loved hard to find music and independent record stores, and every summer that he took me to camp absolutely had to include at least one visit to The Finest. The logo from the top of this post was printed across the middle, in thick, waxy, white.
I can’t remember which CDs of mine, long since lost or stolen anyway, came from that place. But I remember my hoodie. I had it for 15 years. I cut holes in the sleeves when I was a cart-fetcher at a grocery store and I forgot my gloves in the middle of winter. My Finest hoodie was a staple of every flight I took, and made me more than one friend along the way, usually a Colorado resident who would spot the big blocky text from 50 feet away and shout out “Hey I love that shop!” That hoodie survived the dorms at Northern Michigan University and Cornell College, moves across Michigan, New York, and Iowa, homelessness in 2008 as I hitched my way across the mid west and eastern seaboard, countless road trips and strip club locker rooms, the death of my father in 2009, the beginning and end of my first marriage in 2010. 15 years of my life.
Barn Cat lost it. Or destroyed it. When I tried to leave him the first time, at the end of April, I had to wait until he was asleep to sneak out of the disgusting motel room we shared. I only had time to grab the absolute essentials – my laptop, my fleece quilt, a little pouch filled with my ID and passport, etc. He was either wearing my Finest hoodie, or else it was buried in his rat’s nest of blood stained clothes and ripped towels.
I lasted about 10 days after I fled before he charmed me back, and he told me he had no idea where my hoodie went. It didn’t matter. He lost or destroyed lots of other things I loved, too. A pendant given to me by one of my oldest friends from Renaissance Festival, hundreds of dollars worth of camping equipment, AN ENTIRE FUCKING CAR. I could go on. I will not.
I just want that hoodie back, or a reasonable facsimile. Size, extra large. Color, black. Heavy weight 100% cotton. You know, a hoodie. The kind of hoodie you can pull your hands inside the sleeves and clap like a seal. With a big kangaroo pocket for stashing a 20 oz soda or holding a kitten. The kind of hoodie you live in.
That’s all I want for Giftmas this year. Please, internet, work me a miracle. Thank you.