Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Hat

Have you ever wanted anything so badly that you thought you couldn't live without it?

It wasn't until just a few years ago that Dad related this little story to me. He had brought me an old family photo album that had at one time belonged to my Grandma Brown. While going through the album, having him help me identify a lot of strange faces, he saw one picture and said to me..."did I ever tell you about my hat?"
He said he was about 12 years old when he spotted the hat. It was in some shop, probably a farm store, and he saw it and thought he had to have it.
His family was poor. It was during the depression, and he knew there was no way that his Mom or Dad would be able to give him such a gift. So, being the hard worker that he was, he decided to earn the money. There was a neighbor lady that needed chores done & he was able to work for her, saving every nickel & dime that he could, hoping his hat would still be there when the time
came when he could go buy it.
I don't remember how much the hat cost or even if he told me. But finally he had saved enough for his coveted hat. And go buy it he did!

with parents, Leslie & Patsy Brown
Joe, Fern, Nadine, Rose & Duane

And then he told me..."I hated that hat!". I couldn't believe it. After he had worked that hard & saved for no doubt several weeks or longer, he told me that he didn't even like it. I'm not quite sure what happened to make him change his mind, but the thrill of the conquest was gone. He had his hat but he didn't want it.

Perhaps he was a bit embarrassed to wear it around his friends. Maybe someone said something to him about it that made him feel bad. Or maybe, living in those days when nickels and dimes were so hard to come by, just maybe he felt like he could have spent his money on something for his family rather than himself. Because that is the way he lived. For others.

Once in a while when I think there is something that I want really badly for myself, I think about Dad's little hat story. I think I know the feeling. I've thrown so many dollars away over the years on trivial trinkets, that really don't amount to a hill of beans after I get them home. "Things" that used to be so important to me don't have quite the same value as they used to.

Maybe it is because I have had to go through my parents "things" after they were gone & I realized that our "stuff" isn't very important. And sometimes as I'm dusting off my own decorating accessories, or stuff, I wonder what value it will have when my children have to sort through my things.
Dad lived through The Great Depression. He knew what it was like to be from a poor family. He talked about the humiliation of having to wear government issued shirts & overalls to school, as every kid would know by his clothing that they were poor. He told about wearing his shoes until there weren't any more soles left on them. He had to quit school after the 8th grade so he could go to work & help supplement the family income. Even while he was serving in the military, he faithfully sent money home to his mother to help them out. And only after Mom died did he tell us that he wanted to get married, yet he felt like it was his duty as the youngest son to stay home & help his parents.
I'm so glad that later on in life he was able to make a good living for his own family & we were never embarrassed about our home or our clothes. He was a very good provider. I'm so glad that the little boy that wanted the hat, was able to live a good life. He was never selfish & always interested in helping others. His family will remember that when he prayed, he often mentioned "remember the less fortunate".
Maybe he was thinking about the little boy that wanted a new hat.


Nettie's Nook said...

touching story with great meaning

Karen Walden said...

Never heard the hat story before, but will never forget him praying for those less fortunate than we are! Especially in his Christmas prayer!!! Sure do miss him and Grandma!

Sheila said...

and that is why I blog, Karen Lynn! So some of those stories get told--before I forget!

Dorcas said...

Very touching story about your Dad & wanting "the hat"! I know what you mean about having to go through your parents goodies.

Joycee said...

What a wonderful story! I read your post about your relative Ralph Risley in Indiana. To my knowledge Daddy's family are most from the Arkansas area around Peel. We lived in Springfield, Missouri when I was growing up. Thanks for visiting GrannyMountain!
joy c.

Anonymous said...

Your Dad was such a Godly influence to young people in Overland Park. Neat story! That's one of my regrets with my Mom - that I did'nt get more growing up stories from her.

Marilyn Mauck