November 17, 2019
THE HAT THAT GOT AWAY
It was a light brown fedora type hat.
Worn to protect its wearer from the rain.
Worn because the wearer no longer had that mass of lustrous hair of 50 years ago.
On her way along the cliff to the elevator and well aware that the wind would love a much worn hat, she took it off and put it for safe keeping in a yellow plastic shopping bag.
With her dog’s leash and the straps of the shopping bag held tightly in one hand and with her cane in the other, she and the dog just barely managed to make headway along the cliff.
They made it, and with a free hand pushed the button for the elevator. The dog was there, waiting, but the shopping bag was strangely floppy. Looking back she could see a light brown hat dancing with the wind. No way she could brave that wind again and she resigned herself to the loss as the elevator door opened and she and her dog hurried in.
Two days later her son called. Did you lose a hat? he asked. Our friend who lives on the cliff found one. And figured it might be yours. It was. Recovered, brushed with a stiff-bristled blue-handled brush, rubbed with an old wet washcloth, the hat now only barely remembers its fling at freedom, when the wind invited it to dance.
May 16, 2020
Three hats perched on a head-shaped jar.
A dark green glazed terracotta jar.
With bubbles in the glaze.
Imperfections that give it character.
The hats, the top one perched rakishly,
Brown, then purple, and then beige,
Each with a story of its own.
The brown one tried dancing with the wind one day
The purple one befriended a kindred scarf.
The beige one – didn’t seem to care.
Hats meant to frame a face
To shade the eyes from summer sun
To keep the chill of winter at hat’s length.
Or to protect their wearer,
From unforgiving eyes.
THREE OF THEM
One on top of the other. There are three of them.
Three of what? Why hats. Those practical objects we so casually throw on a chair or hang up on a hook. But for heaven’s sake don’t put them on the bed. Lord knows why it’s considered back luck. After all a hat is just a covering for your head. Although my hats also do seem to have personalities of their own.
Take the beige hat, the predecessor of them all. Such a nondescript color, goes with just about everything. As to be expected, it shows its venerable age. Is rather worn and battered like its owner and is used to being forgotten on the front seat of the car. In fact couldn’t care less. That’s not quite true. For sometime when it feels neglected, it fleetingly may wonder why.
Then of course there’s the royal purple one, which thinks it’s, as they say, the cat’s pajamas. Purple was the height of fashion at the time and even the family doctor commented on the fact that everyone seemed to be wearing purple.
As for the brown one, its life has been more adventurous and we know all about that already.
This last one is sort of experimental. I’m adding it here because my friend Katherine liked it.
The Purple Hat
A purple hat! Now whatever made her buy a purple hat. She had nothing in particular to go with it but of course once she had it, a silk purple scarf was de rigeur. There was something proud, noble, about the color. It hadn’t occurred to her that at the time purple was the height of fashion. Even her family doctor commented on the fact that everyone seemed to be wearing purple.
I was new and she felt I flattered her, so even when she went shopping, she took me with her. That day though when she got home , she took off her jacket and reached up to put me away – but I wasn’t there! She panicked, she must have left me, an orphan, abandoned, in the parking lot. I had tried to call her attention to the fact that I was on the roof of the car but she was thinking only of getting back home and putting those containers of ice cream in the freezer. I was sure she would eventually remember – after all I was not just any old hat but a royal purple hat and when she would reach up to put me on the catch-all table by the entrance – she would realize I wasn’t there. It must have taken her no more than fifteen minutes to get back down to where she had last seen me. I had tried catching her attention – hey, don’t leave me! as I bounced off and landed on the paving. But she was in too much of a hurry. Luckily a kind man who had parked nearby saw me and put me on the roof of another car, figuring the legitimate owner of a hat as important as that would be back. And so it was as fifteen minutes later we both breathed a sigh of relief, for I am after all a royal purple hat and not to be played down.