Spirit of turnabout is fair play

Published 5:45 am Saturday, January 20, 2018

Now that winter is rearing its icy head, I am not one of those people who wax nostalgic about fireplaces and heating their homes with open fireplaces or wood/coal burning stoves or furnaces.

Speaking of underwear, it has been suggested by one member of my household, that, instead of talking about women’s’ unmentionables, I talk about my own and see how well that feels. So, in the spirit of turnabout is fair play, that’s where this column is headed.

But don’t be overly alarmed. This is not going to be a dissertation on the advantages, or lack thereof, of boxers vs. briefs. It’s going to be about my all time favorite, essential winter garment, without which, I might have frozen to death many years ago. I am, of course, talking about long johns.

Email newsletter signup

I am, more or less, a walking talking history of the evolution of long johns since 1950. Throughout grade school I wore the itchy, one-piece union suits that assured that almost every kid on Blair Branch got plenty physical exercise during the winter months. We practically had to be contortionists to reach places on our backs to scratch where it was itching. I’ve actually had teachers ask if I had fleas.

By high school, the two piece cotton “thermal knit” long johns had come along . Not everybody wore them but not everybody had to walk a mile in freezing weather to catch the school bus. Those of us who did took some ribbing when it came time to dress-out for gym class but we had the satisfaction of knowing we were much more comfortable that the teasers.

By college I had discovered that an Army-Navy surplus store near Pikeville, sold Korean War era, two-piece long johns that were far warmer than anything you could buy at the mainstream clothing stores and those got me through college and well into adulthood. Then I discovered that most of the big name brand men’s underwear companies had come up with a “thermal-blend” that was actually warmer than what our armed forces personnel wore in Korea.

So Hanes and Fruit of the Loom sufficed me through the turn of the century. I will say here, that I’d have worn pantyhose if someone had convinced me they were warmer. That how badly I hate being cold.

Then, around the year 2000, I discovered ski underwear that did, In fact, fit a lot like I imagine pantyhose would, except it was much thicker and came with both tops and bottoms. It also cost several times more than what I’d been wearing but I was not at all bothered by the fact that my drawers and undershirt were considerably more expensive than my britches and sweater even though I couldn’t show them off.

Back in October, I was in the dentist’s waiting room perusing an outdoor hunting/fishing periodical when I came upon a short article touting Trac-Tech, outdoor underwear made by Russell Athletic. The writer swore it was better/warmer than 2 of the brands I wear and it was about $26,00 per set! Hardly a down payment on the stuff I’ve been wearing.

I mentioned to Santa Claus that my current inventory of long johns was getting awfully religious and that it would be nice to try a set of this new fabric.

Santa wanted to know why my old underwear was religious and I told her it was holey and was that not the same thing as religious?

To make a long story short, Santa came through with not just one but two sets of the Trac Techs and she actually found them at Wally World for just over $25.00 a set. And I’m here to tell you that the writer got it right. Both sets are in the laundry right now. I’m decked out in one of the old pricey sets and I’m freezing.

Either the laundry gets done this morning or I’m making a trip to Berea to buy some more. Please be advised that Russell Athletic makes at least two different kinds of Long Johns but the Trac-Tech design is far, far superior to the other styles.

Stay warm out there!

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at ikeadams@aol.com or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.