A while before I was born, my mom crocheted two hats for her mom. They were both the same, save for the colour. One hat was white, and was intended for the special occasion of my aunt’s wedding. The other hat was purple–royal purple. While my grandmother appreciated both hats, she kept the white hat for highly special occasions, and took to wearing the purple hat for every day use. She loved that purple hat–mostly because its hue did not quickly show the dirt. She could wear that hat many, many times before it needed a wash, and she liked that.
Before long, that hat sort of haunted my mom. Every time we saw Grandma, she would be wearing that hat. My mom, in her desperation, tried both buying other hats, and making other hats for her mom, but my Grandma was stuck on that purple hat. Eventually, my mom started muttering things like, “…that damn hat! I am sorry I made it!…” As for my Grandma, that hat was her hat: no one in the world had a hat like that, nor could any one quite pull off wearing a hat like that quite like my Grandma. As for me, I cannot conjure an image of my Grandma that does not include that hat. I suspect I am not the only one. Once, when I told my sister about a dream I had where I looked up across a crowded room filled with people and saw my Grandma sitting there grinning at me, I also noted that Grandma was wearing her purple hat. My sister said, “Well then you know for darn sure it was her–she didn’t go anywhere without that hat!”
I found my sister’s words haunting me a little the other day while I was shopping. I was waiting in line, and the person in front of me was being a bit of a problem child for the cashier. Eventually another cashier joined in to help the first one. There was some kerfuffle about a coupon, and needing $2.69 in purchases for the coupon. I found myself starting to get impatient, and marveling at how I always manage to get stuck behind someone like this.
Then I saw it–the purple popcorn-stitch hat!
I have to admit–I misted up a little. In a weird way it was like running into a friend of an old friend–seeing that hat brought back a flood of memories. I stared at this lady’s hat and grinned. Fortunately for me she was too wrapped up in her coupon debacle to get weird-ed out by my behavior. I found myself giggling at what seemed to be some kind of cosmic inside joke. This lady was a one of a kind–just like my Grandma was. This lady seemed to be hard-wired for a deal, this too reminded me of my Grandma’s notorious frugal side. When she finally noticed me standing there, staring, she thanked me for my patience. I just thanked her.
During a week where there seemed to be more sad news than usual, in the middle of Pharma Plus, there was a little slice of Grandma reminding me to make time to smile, giggle, and notice the many blessings around and within me. I realized that while I am still young, it won’t be long before I too start donning more and more purple accessories–maybe even a hat or two! That isn’t such a bad thing!
Posted with this blog is a picture of my Grandma wearing her purple hat. Sadly the photo was digitally mastered, and printed in black and white–but trust me, that hat was purple (Barney the dinosaur purple)…