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Barbara Holland (1933-2010), a Washingtonian, moved to Bluemont (pop. 200) in Loudoun County in 1993 and wrote "Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences." A manifesto for enjoying the unsung, out-of-fashion, or slightly disreputable joys of life, the book was a defiant rejoinder to the Puritan spirit that variously possesses religious crusaders and radical feminists, fitness fanatics and subdivision covenanteers, vegans and workaholics, and all the other grim tribes of Scold Nation whose purpose is to make us feel bad about feeling good.
With the permission of Barbara Holland's publisher, we are excerpting chapters from "Endangered Pleasures" on this page each month.
We do not necessarily endorse every indulgence profiled by the author. But by golly she does make them sound good.
I FOUND it in the thrift shop,
Wondering, I bought it. Presently I stopped wondering: It was cheap because there's no place to wear it.
Well, not quite no place. I can wear it at home when the furnace goes off, or in the woods when I go out to clear brush. Here where I live, in deer- and squirrel-hunting country, I can wear it as far as the hardware store but no closer than that to the city. In the city, nice people don't wear fur, and they've been known to attack not-nice people.
When it gets really viciously cold--fur-coat cold--nice people wear goose-down coats and vests, trundling along the streets like walking fire hydrants. (I have no idea how the down is removed from the goose, but I bet it hurts.) Or they wear the new synthetic fabrics with capitalized names, which may be scientific insulation but can hardly be called a pleasure; they have all the sensuous satisfaction of a canvas mailbag.
Fur coats--inarguably the best, softest, warmest, most comfortable and water-resistant of winter clothing--languish in the backs of closets or travel, under cover of darkness, to thrift shops.