THE COST MIGHT BE A BIT HAIRY, BUT WHAT PRICE NOSTALGIA?

November 11, 1974

When I was 18, I overestimated manhood. I threw away a Schwinn bicycle, 145 comic books and a raccoon coat, the coat because I wore it to a football game and, although a spaniel made eyes at me, my date began to itch wildly in the second quarter, so I had to sit alone in the end zone. I was warm, but the wrong kind of warm.

I now have a 10-speed on order, and my wife, who was not my date, got me an Uncle Scrooge comic book for my most recent birthday. She thought I was upset because it cost $12, but I was upset because I knew the ending.

My wife has announced plans to get me a raccoon coat for Christmas, and whereas I did not mind paying $12 for a comic book I had read and thrown away, I figure raccoon coats must have increased tremendously in price since I paid $100 for my first one, purchased at an estate sale with the guarantee that the old gentleman passed away in his sleep, not at a football game.

Raccoons are nocturnal carnivores, arboreal in habit. They do not grow on trees, rather they are chased up trees, then shot, and unless you are an experienced marksman, a coat you built from scratch could have some unbelievable buttonholes.

A friend who hunts raccoons says it is terrifically difficult to be a successful weekend coon hunter; besides, trained coon dogs cost upward of $100. He says that visiting a furrier is much easier than trapping a raccoon.

Lou Gribin is my furrier, mine in the sense that I walk by his store (Fine Furs, Inc., 518 South Boston, Tulsa) every day on the way to work. I told Mr. Gribin that my wife is considering a raccoon coat for my Christmas, and I am considering its price. He said there is no substitute for wisdom. Call him Lou.

A full-length man's raccoon coat was spread at my feet. Lou said reverently, "This is a third-generation coat. It has been at Harvard. It has been at Yale. I believe it has been at Dartmouth. It cost more than a thousand dollars 45 years ago."

A raccoon coat is made of pelts. A quality mink pelt can cost approximately $45, and a good raccoon pelt can be worth from $15 to $20. Lou said that a new full-length raccoon coat for six feet, one inch of dynamite like myself can require 25 to 30 pelts.

"Gimme a pencil, Lou."

"Forget pencils."

A good raccoon coat appears to be made of one skin; there is a continuity of pattern. A new three-quarter-length woman's coat begins at about $750. A used one goes for $350 or $400 depending on color and condition. A coat can vary in color from tan to almost silver. The darker shades are preferred. A coat of superior quality contains little of the raccoon's stomach, because the fur there is thinner and will become worn.

I asked Lou if he was selling many raccoon coats. "Raccoon is back. Try it on," he said. I did. There was no urge to sneeze, but rather an overwhelming desire to carry Lou off the field on my shoulders.

He said, "About a thousand dollars."

I told Lou that I would be back when my team could live up to this coat. "Try the pockets, anyway."

There were no original baseball trading cards inside.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)