blue-flag-thumb2_50x50Our side's flag is a thin, airlight blue, drifting almost unseen against the sky. Our military march is a meadowlark's song among the dandelions. --Ken Kesey, The Real War


Fresh Corduroy | Deborah Goodwin

Jan. 8, 2013 ( -- Checking out the conditions at our local ski mountain, I read, "Our groomers will be out laying down corduroy on 69 trails for your carving pleasure."

NICE!, I think. For a minute I imagine SnowCats spreading rolls, like the most automated of cutting tables, wrapping the slopes in yards and yards of one of my favorite fabrics. (Christo -- call me!) No, this is fresh corduroy, not a huge art installation, or a stuffed bear, but it's what I'm looking for, this time of year, here in Vermont.


To skiers, "corduroy" is the pattern and type of snow left after grooming.

If you want the fresh corduroy, you have to go early. "First chair. First tracks. Ten before 10:00."

I may not be much of a skier, but I love the lingo. When you live in Vermont, you find a winter outdoor activity you like, or you head for Florida, so since I moved up here, I've been trying to ski. This year we had two really great snows after Christmas, a couple of "powder (powdah, pow-pow) days," then it's been all "packed powder" and "groomed cruisers," all lifts "turning," with "steeps," "glades," and "powder stashes."

Today, another "bluebird" day (bright sun, clear skies, mid-20s), and so the mountain's website advises, "It might be a good day to call in sick to work and hope no one recognizes you on the slopes. (Don't think they'd like it much if their own employees did that, just sayin' -- but everyone is tempted!) All the ski resorts are happy with how busy they've been (and no one wants to think about that story in the Times, that in 20 years maybe half of the ski resorts in the Northeast will have closed, not enough snow due to global warming). No, I am trying to stay positive here...


Nap up or down?

I like corduroy on the hill, and I like the fabric it's named after, in both cases because I am a product of my generation. Corduroy ski slopes are easier on old knees, because you can really "carve" your turns, and the trails aren't all "bumped up."

Corduroy the fabric was big in my formative years of high school and college, and is hot once again. Some of the first Armaments were made in corduroy, stiff, eight-wale corduroy that I had to wash several times before sewing. For clothing, it was dressed-up denim; in couches, it was cuddly yet sturdy, and slightly rebellious.

It came in all those good, rich, earthy colors (burgundy, loden, mahogany, burnt umber) because it was cotton, which takes those vegetable-based dyes so well. (I particularly remember my burgundy corduroy vest and elephant bells, with a mock-cuff hem, so high-waisted compared to any thing we'd wear today.) The coolest dudes would wear corduroy jackets, or, even better, cotton velvet, corduroy's swankier cousin. (I so wish I had a photo to post of my high-school boyfriend's velvet jacket.) We would wear corduroy when we got dressed up, back in the day.


The best pillow for cuddling, the Zeebra, with a printed corduroy slipcover and ticking stripe insert.

Today, corduroy skinny jeans are (once again) hot, the uniform of those who want to look like they live in Brooklyn. (check out these corduroy fashions.) I bought two new pairs at TJMaxx this year, in lucious colors like cobalt and goldenrod. The fabric has been tranformed by the addition of a little Lycra, so you can get an ultra-skinny fit. I'm so happy that I no longer have to lie down to zip them up!!

peace, Deborah

PS -- My lovely daughters would never let me actually say any of the lingo mentioned above. "Mom, NEVER say that again!"

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