Running. With Turtlenecks.

Christmas morning. I’m running.

35° F, feels like 26°.  Wind cuts, it’s wet, akin to wind coming off Lake Michigan in Chicago, the Windy City. It penetrates the bones. I shiver.

I pull down the zipper on my jacket, and reach for the zipper on my running shirt.  I zip it all the way up. This blocks the wind but triggers another, deeper, pain point.  The moisture wicking fabric on the running shirt wraps snugly around my Adam’s Apple. Oh, God. No. My hand instinctively claws at the shirt to pull it away, offering temporary relief, but no more. The shirt snaps back around my throat.

I scramble to unzip the jacket, to unzip the shirt, freeing my throat. The cold air swooshes in. But at least it’s free. Can’t have anything touching the Adam’s Apple.  We all have our tics. This one is mine. Raye speaks of a Medium calling for a new Puppy in 2019. I believe her, but don’t believe in Mediums, Tarot Cards or any other woo woo, but I shudder to think what the Medium would say about this Adam’s Apple thing – some horror in a prior life.

In his story titled “Little Birds“, Simon Van Booy describes memories as “Each year…putting a new coat over all the old ones. Sometimes I reach into the pockets of my childhood and pull things out.” So this triggers a pulling out of a thing. My little bird. With its broken little wing.

Sunday Service. Every Sunday. Childhood.  Mandatory attendance.

Resistance was futile, despite ongoing attempts by my younger brother and me, both wishing to be anywhere but there.

Service was held in a community prayer hall. Spartan: No gold trim. No stained glass windows. No priest.

Men on one side. Women, in kerchiefs, on the other. Youth in the front row. Elders behind.

A large, cast iron stove burned pine, wood chopped with an ax and stacked in an adjacent building. The stove sparked and cackled, with a smell, and with warmth that comes back to me 50 years later.

A small wooden table sat in between.  A loaf of bread, a salt shaker and a pitcher of water, rested peacefully on white embroidered doilies on a white tablecloth. From the front row, I would watch the water gently sway against the sides of the pitcher when a late comer to Service would pull the door closed.

Dressing up for Sunday Service in winter: corduroy pants and a turtle neck, both typically black or brown.

Service was one hour, but my tugging on the turtleneck was incessant.  I needed to stretch the fabric to provide air, to make room. I pulled, and pulled and pulled and pulled, stretching the collar, offering temporary relief, but no more.

For the Normal people, it could be a fresh mosquito bite, dry skin, or worse, eczema. But no, this was no temporary thing. This Adam’s Apple is a permanent fixture. As were the turtlenecks on Sunday mornings.

I round the corner to run up the hill for the home stretch.

I smile. I’ve come such a long way. No turtlenecks in 50 years.

Let Freedom Reign!

12,373 steps.

Nap time.

Photo credit


  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Entertaining, good read … good time story!! … ‘No turtlenecks in 50 years.
    Let Freedom Reign!’ …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Free the Adam’s apple and free the subconscious – two for the discomfort of one. Not bad…😉. Sounds like a well-deserved nap to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Touché…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks, Dave, for this beutiful gem to start my morning. Think I’ll go for a run. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nothing but a scarf can touch the throat (I no longer risk little kids’ hugs from behind when tieing someone’s shoes!), no corduroys since I found out they were noisy, but out of the childhood pocket comes a tub of Vicks Vapo-rub, or, memories of how I for the first time ever finally stood up for myself with that NO! You always make me think! And bless you for running. I hope you always run for two or more! Finally, I must wonder what our kids take out of their childhood pockets..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Turtle necks are torture devices. It could be made of silk. NO!

    Childhood thing too. No turtlenecks, and no one is ever cutting my hair short. And when im dead, still, no one can put a turtleneck on me.

    I hope Reya is right 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I wrote this a long time ago. I’d like to say I could write it better now, but a story like this just writes itself.
    Me? I hadnt changed a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ha! i love the memory that it triggered in you, the story – not the feeling. i have my own sensitivity in that i hate any wool or scratchy acrylic fabrics touching my skin, especially my neck. i cringe just thinking about it. when i’m outside in the winter, i generally wrap a very soft cotton scarf around my neck to keep me warm. not sure why my skin is so sensitive to certain fabrics, but there is no changing it and I’m okay with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your post arrived while we await word from the surgical waiting room in Indianapolis where my friend of 54 years is on the operating table. Thank you, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just how far out in the bush did you live, anyway for there to be no church per se…
    Love me a turtleneck 😉 As long as it’s not too tight!
    My “thing”? Wood on my tongue… you know those popsicle sticks or ice cream bars on sticks… can’t lick it clean – which bugs me coz I want every last bit,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Have a great day and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You are definitely not alone with the turtleneck thing. I don’t have much of an Adam’s apple but I still can’t stand having anything clutching at my throat. I could easily identify with your stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This must be a post to cleanse the mind for the New Year…for me it’s necklaces…can. not. wear. one. I have a feeling that there was a hanging in another life, or strangling. Have a great day now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A turtleneck can be strategic in its use… When one is young & in love a turtleneck must be endured, as it hides a hickey or two. Every-time I noted a girl in school wearing one I assumed she was covering up a dating exploit…having grown up with a Nordstorms nearby (long before they became a national store) and working there in High School & college I loved the sweater season! esp. the pretty classic Cowl Neck sweaters, the loose neck could be pulled up to protect the neck and lower face from the wind….I bought a second hand cowl neck the other day. I opened a photo from Christmas eve from a younger sister & she was wearing an almost identical cowl neck sweater!! same colorway, too. ///For me and that same sister we can’t stand bras esp underwires, which is the foundation item we wear. As soon as we arrive home off with the bras!!! With such a high breast cancer risk in me and my sisters it is a good idea to limited the bra time and let the lymph system in that area flow. Education I am sure you didn’t expect to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. 🙂 I figured you’d laugh…practical application of bothersome turtlenecks. I wonder if you’ve had a sighting of the women in black from the train platform – was she wearing a turtleneck around her skinny neck? to conceal something. I think she was dubbed the Crow women…or maybe she was just a long cool women in a black dress…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When you described her in one of your great posts she did seems steely cold…and btw I shared the honor with one the Reverend “N’s” twin sons he was the male recipient and I was the female of being “The Most Modest” persons after 4 years of High Schools… (in manner, dress, etc)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Interesting about the turtleneck thing Dave. I too get claustrophobic with construction around my throat. Can’t even wear short necklaces. I mentioned this to my mother several years back, wondering if there had been something in my childhood. She told me that I had been flung out of my crib in the back of the car as an infant and had dangled by my throat on the passenger seat. Oh boy … that’ll do it!
    In yoga they might tell you that you throat energy center is blocked. This can show up with irritation, constriction and the inability to express ourselves fully, especially from the heart. But that’s too “woo woo” for you or me, right!?! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  18. There’s something about the throat isn’t there? Might be primeval…the airways being housed there and the thruway for food and all, lol. I have a narrowing esophagus so my throat always feels claustrophobic, but it hasn’t stopped me from eating four or five times a day David. We all have our quirks and it’s funny once we write about them to discover how common they are, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. In response to what you said, “Most Modest recipient” My conduct has always been important to me…kindness, thoughtfulness, being truthful, fair, being gentle, full of grace, etc…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I know you will smile…I could not resist adding this, since one of your recent offerings was regarding Jeff Goldblum and this offering is about running with turtlenecks….from the current issue of “Instyle Magazine” so worth the read. (Jan. 2019)
    “That special sauce extends to his fashion choices as well. As a child, Goldblum loved going back to school because it meant shopping for new clothes. The first time he wore a suit, a neighborhood kid teased him. “He saw me, and he said, ‘Jeff Goldblum, you look … you’re as sharp as a matzo ball,’ and I said, I said, ‘No, Bobby, I’m smooth.’ ” Later, inspired by Sammy Davis Jr.’s spin on Carnaby Street fashion, Goldblum demanded a small version of the Nehru jacket ensemble he saw in a department store, with a { turtleneck } and a medallion. “I said, ‘I want that whole outfit,’ and I got it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Did you crack a smile or laugh?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. also last evening we were watching an assortment of clips from “All in the Family” one of them had Sammy Davis Jr. as a guest star. I don’t remember if he was wearing a turtleneck, sometimes he wore turtlenecks.

    Liked by 1 person

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