It's been there to keep me warm and secure through the better part of 27 years. It has traveled with me across much of this nation, secure in the storage unit of the camper or being put to use by someone in the back of the family station wagon or -- later -- the van during one of those long trips to and from one coast or the other.
It provided a place to lay my head when sleeping under the stars outside of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
It kept me warm during many Friday night football games and has been used as a ground-level table for picnics when nothing else was available.
It has also been a constant fixture in one of the family cars during the cold the winters of the past 27 years.
"Here -- take this in case you break down -- at least you'll be able to keep warm."
Like the Peanuts character Linus, I'm not sure I could have come this far without it.
Yep ... me and my old hand-woven extra-extra-virgin-wool (the wool in this blanket was so close to the pasture when it was shorn that for years I could pick briars and twigs out of the blanket) Mexican blanket have almost been inseparable for years.
In fact -- and my family can attest to it as fact -- if the blanket (affectionately named "Mexico") isn't close by, I need to know where it is in case I "need" it.
It was rough and earthy back then. Like me (and many of you -- I would guess), it has become much softer over the years. From time to time I notice some of the fringe on either end becoming a little longer and a bit more out of place and frayed.
The fragrance of the mountain pastures of central Mexico (not offensive at all) is growing fainter with every washing, and the simple earth tones -- the browns and tans and creams -- have faded some.
But it still has the character that caught my attention in the first place.
Purchased for about $17 while on a mission trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, the old prickly wool blanket has proven to be a great investment.
It's like an old friend.