When you’re a scientist packing for a trip to Churchill, you think about things like, “Do I have all my instruments ready if the aurora borealis is more intense than usual?” and “Will my polar bear skull fit into my suitcase?”
When you’re a journalist packing for a trip to Churchill, you think about things like, “Is this an excuse to buy a new winter coat?” and “Hmm. How can I make work pay for my new coat?”
The subject of my coat has been a topic of intense debate in my family for two weeks now. No one is worried about my feet as I managed to dig out my trusty Sorels the other day. But everyone is worried about my coat.
My coat is three years old. It’s black, plenty warm and covered in cat hair. I had long resigned myself to the fact there really is no reason to buy another coat this year as it still fits and the cat hair simply adds another layer of warmth.
But my grandmother, a former Baffin Island resident, is convinced the -10 C forecast for Churchill later this week means it’s time for a warmer coat.
This, incidentally, is the same woman who used to insist I wear my ski pants when I went to Winnipeg Jets games as a kid.
“You know, Elisha, things are a lot more expensive in Churchill.”
I thought about that for a moment. “You don’t think I’m going to buy a coat in Churchill, do you?”
“Your birthday is coming up, I’ll help put some money towards a new coat.”
My husband thinks I should take her up on her offer.
“You know, the wind out there will whip right through your coat.”
“I’m gonna be in a Tundra Buggy. What wind?”
I’m wearing my black coat (with grey and orange accent fur.) And the only thing I’m going to buy in Churchill is a custom-molded bag to hold my new polar bear skull.