The Simba blanket

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:41 PM

A number of years ago, when Justin was maybe 6, Kevin’s sister Susan sent him a small throw, a blanket emblazoned with the image of his most beloved friend, Simba. He had, of course, seen The Lion King at least two dozen times. He never went anywhere without his stuffed Simba and when the blanket arrived, it was met with great joy and celebration. He wrapped himself in it, he dragged it around the house, he curled up on the couch with it, or on the floor, propped up on stolen pillows and accompanied by Maguire who was then a pup himself. Together they would watch Chip & Dale (or as Justin called it Chip Chip & Dale) and yes, The Lion King.

Justin, Simba and mom at Disneyland. He was 4.

The blanket was mostly blue, beautifully woven with golden hues and blue and hot pink fringe. Simba graced the middle in all of his cub greatness, all cuddly cute, big ears, doofy grin, yellow eyes and mischievous eyebrows. The words The Lion King were embroidered across the bottom as was the Disney logo in the corner. It was small, warm, and incredibly it’s still in great shape. I think it has had hot chocolate spilled on it and who knows how much cola. For a while, after Justin lost interest, the blanket was folded in my office and placed over a large bag that I didn’t have any place for other than a far corner near my desk. Simba covered the bag nicely for several years. I believe that one night I knocked a wine glass over so there are some spots from a nice Cabernet sprinkled amongst the golden lion and the blue and pink threads. It blends in nicely.

Simba went away to college when Justin started at the University of Arizona in Tucson in the Fall of 2009. He moved when Justin got an off-campus apartment and now that Justin is going to New York to finish his college career, the Simba blanket has returned home. It has been washed and folded and it’s currently stacked on the rim of the sunken tub in the master bath. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I have some things to ship east to Justin, things he’s not able to fit into his three suitcases, so maybe I’ll put it in the box. It seems fitting somehow. After all, the blanket is Justin’s; it should be there with him as he starts his new adventure. It should be with him to give him a little warmth on cold nights when he’s studying and just wants to throw something over his legs as he’s stretched out on the couch or the bed. It can remind him of home and of his childhood, of his Aunt Susan in Illinois and of his parents who wrap him up in love. Parents who are always there to catch him if he falls and comfort him when he’s hurting. We can’t be there but his blanket can.

Grown-up Simba

Funny how our little boy has grown up in what seems like the blink of an eye, the span of a movie. Like Simba, he’s embarking on an adventure where he will meet new friends and explore love. He will grow to be an even better man than he is right now, the man we’ve seen emerge but who is still forming, a man with a big red mane just like Simba.

A man who was taught by his dad to be strong and responsible, just as Mufasa taught Simba, to be the king of the jungle, whatever and wherever his jungle might be. Justin’s jungle will be New York for the short-term future, but who knows what kingdom he’ll rule someday? Either way, he’ll have his Simba blanket, something I suspect and hope will be with him for many years yet to come, a blanket he can pass down to his own cubs.

Because the Simba blanket is so much more than a blanket. It’s a throw wrapped up in hope and love and possibility. 

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live out loud

Comments (1) -

1/19/2012 10:26:53 AM #

I agree. You must ship it to him. He needs his blankey!

Bobbi Jankovich United States

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