Iowa Writes

ROB VOGT
Hockey Gloves


A date that began with martini bar canoodling has now settled into Gold Coast spooning, nicely framing an evening of marbled beef and intelligent conversation. The smaller, frontal spoon—a strawberry blonde assistant account executive—scans the walls of the bedroom, her gaze eventually settling on a set of oak bookshelves. Between an autographed picture of Frank Sinatra and a Richard Ford novel sits a pair of tattered, orange hockey gloves.

"I didn't know you played hockey," she says.

"What? No, not anymore."

"But you used to?" Her linen-muffled question ends in a tentative lilt.

"Yeah, I played some hockey when I was a kid. It was no big deal."

The big deal is in the details. He bought the gloves for three dollars at a 1982 garage sale, and they turned his skin orange every time he put them on. In between pick-up games on the local pond he would plunge his hands into a snow bank to scrub them clean. By the time he got rid of most of the orange dye, his hands were numb from the cold and he had to shove them back into the gloves again.

"That Sinatra picture's got to be worth something, don't you think?"

A date that began with martini bar canoodling has now settled into Gold Coast spooning, nicely framing an evening of marbled beef and intelligent conversation. The smaller, frontal spoon—a strawberry blonde assistant account executive—scans the walls of the bedroom, her gaze eventually settling on a set of oak bookshelves. Between an autographed picture of Frank Sinatra and a Richard Ford novel sits a pair of tattered, orange hockey gloves.

"I didn't know you played hockey," she says.

"What? No, not anymore."

"But you used to?" Her linen-muffled question ends in a tentative lilt.

"Yeah, I played some hockey when I was a kid. It was no big deal."

The big deal is in the details. He bought the gloves for three dollars at a 1982 garage sale, and they turned his skin orange every time he put them on. In between pick-up games on the local pond he would plunge his hands into a snow bank to scrub them clean. By the time he got rid of most of the orange dye, his hands were numb from the cold and he had to shove them back into the gloves again.

"That Sinatra picture's got to be worth something, don't you think?"

"Sure," he says, but the price tag at the front of his brain is still three dollars for the hockey gloves. Even more important is the way he earned those three bucks by taking a paper route, waking up while it was still dark out, and lugging those grubby papers all over the neighborhood. Same as his father did when he was a kid. Hockey gloves were the kind of purchase a father could be proud of.

"But you'd never sell it, right?"

"Probably not." The gloves remind him of a time in his life when hockey players who wore helmets were considered soft and NHL teams were not under any circumstances to be named after Disney movies. A time when the Chicago Blackhawks played in an old barn with a wonderfully non-corporate name, a place with an honest-to-God fog horn that shook the rafters and scattered the rats and had no impact whatsoever on the smell of urine that filled the stairwells. He and his father went to a handful of games every year, where they booed Gretzky and cheered for Esposito and angled their knees to the side when the cops horsed their way down the row to remove fans whose fistfights were drawing attention away from the ones on the ice.


"An oldie but a goodie," she says, snuggling backwards.

"Yeah," he responds, accepting her backside, thinking not of Sinatra but of the frozen, orange-stained hands of his youth.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


ROB VOGT

Rob Vogt is a Chicago-area native and an Iowa Summer Writing Festival attendee. He has studied short story writing under Elizabeth Wetmore and Bret Anthony Johnston, graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop.

This page was first displayed
on November 13, 2008

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