Linus had his blanket. Many a child has had his or her teddy bear. Calvin had his stuffed tiger Hobbs. I have my heating pad. We all have our little portable bits of security and safety we need with us when times are tough. Why a heating pad you might rightly ask? It does seem strange, I admit. When I was a child, I was one of those snotty nosed kids who was allergic to everything and sick all the time. I had constant ear infections, and spent countless hours waiting to see the pediatric ear, nose and throat doctor. I remember in the 5th grade before they finally took out my tonsils, when my doctor wrote a note to my school that I was not to be allowed to play outside during recess because my allergies and inner ear problems were so bad that being exposed to the elements would make me really sick. I did say "allowed" but those of you who were bookish kids like myself know the real truth; I was OVERJOYED to spend that entire school year's recess and P.E. classes in the library reading books with my favorite teacher. It was pure bliss. But through all the childhood earaches, my constant comforting companion was my heating pad. My mother's heating pad, actually. She gave it to me to lay my head upon to soothe my near constant ear pain. I remember it had a flannel cover with yellow flowers on it that snapped over it. It became such a constant in my life that when I went to college it came with me. When I married it came with me. I finally had to get rid of it about 10 years ago when it was making frightening noises and SPARKS! in the middle of the night. As my adult companion it has served more to soothe my IBS, and joint and muscle aches and pains, which needless to say, have intensified as I have grown older. Now the new(er) one is wearing out too. Time to replace it again. I guess they don't make them like they used to; that first one lasted me over 30 years! I shudder to think what they did before electricity...I guess that would be the hot water bottle! Oh the cosy warmth. These days sometimes we pass it back and forth, my husband and I. Who needs it the most tonight, we ask each other? He has aches and pains too these days. Maybe it's time for his and hers models. You take your comfort where you can.