OUR CORNER: Crazy about the color purple

Mardi Gras purple is my favorite color.

By John Leggett

The Courier-Herald

Mardi Gras purple is my favorite color. Even though it is not a primary color and instead is a delightful combination of blue and red hues, it is such a luscious mixture. I want to eat it. I want to dive into to. I want to wrap myself up in it. I suppose I have already done the latter since half of my wardrobe consists of purple clothing. My mother used to tell me that I looked good in purple, because it is a combination of my ruddy (red) skin and blue eyes.

Whatever, Mom.

A lot of this clothing that fills my closet is sports-related (naturally). There are Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings (basketball) purple sweatshirts. The Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens different shades of purple jerseys (football). The Colorado Rockies hats, shirts and sweatshirts (baseball) and finally an L.A. Kings hockey jersey (hockey)….old school, of course.

Purple is a color that has been around since ancient times and even back then, the wearing of it was tantamount to wealth, royalty, wisdom and the aristocracy.

The original purple, Tyrian purple of Tyre, has been traced as far back as 1900 B.C. to the Minoan civilization in Crete or Phoenicia, because only that exact vicinity of the world manufactured that color. The purple textiles and fabrics of Phoenicia were not dyed with berries to achieve their purple appearance, as I had originally thought, but with the glands of tiny shellfish creatures known as Murex marine mollusks.

No wonder purple had a certain reputation for being worn by the elite few back then, since it took 12,000 of these little guys to extract 1.5 grams of pure purple dye.

Purple is often associated with the Great Northwest along with green of course, in that it is the color of the University of Washington Huskies. This is, bye the way, the only part of the UW I can stomach. I also can appreciate the gusto with which Husky signal caller Jake Locker approaches life and plays the game.

From the pros, to colleges, athletes proudly don the color purple.

Heck, one of the four schools that The Courier-Herald covers embraces the color purple, the Sumner High Spartans.

I think one of the reasons I am so enamored with the color purple, subconsciously perhaps, is because way back in my Scottish ancestry, we belonged to the Fraser clan, and the ancient hunting tartan design for the kilts had shades of purple in it….one possible explanation lads, that’s all.

Purple is the favorite color of pop celebrity Prince. Freaky as he may be, he plays a mean guitar and has excellent taste in women.

And speaking of all-galaxy guitar players, the original Master of the Stratocaster and the Northwest’s own Jimi Hendrix, graduate of purple clad Garfield High in Seattle, was another guy who brought acclaim to the color purple with his “Purple Haze.”

Of course we see the word purple throughout the history of music.

“It was a one horned, one-eyed flying purple people eater…” “The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang” and then there was the British rock group known as Deep Purple…..fantastic group!

You have the Purple Heart in the military, which recognizes our brave soldiers, who have been injured in battle, while fighting for our freedom. You have the four-ball in billiards, which is my favorite hue of purple.

The state of California is widely renowned for its association with the color purple, all the great wineries of the Napa and Senoma Valleys, not being the least of these of course. There is a comedy club in the city by the bay called the Purple Onion.

After all of these years I still don’t know what it is about the color purple that is so appealing to me, but a lot of other people must like it as well because you sure see a great deal of it out there.

Just look around and soak it in.

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