I grabbed my ball cap the other day and went out. Yeah, it was easier and quicker than taking shower. This hat has been around awhile. But I will get to that later.
Late July, 2001, Gretchen. Noah and myself took a trip to California to visit her family. We had purchased the non-refundable tickets months in advance. The day after purchasing the tickets, I received the invitation to my 10 year class reunion for the same day we were to fly out to California. So I missed the reunion. (Hopefully, we are having a 20 year but I haven't heard.) This event was far from being the top memory of this trip.
Upon arriving in California, Gretchen had surprised me with Green Day tickets. (It's amazing what married couples do for each other that we tend to forget, my advice is to stop and take time to remember.) It was the final show of the 'Warning" tour and their homecoming show. It was originally schedule to be in Berkley but because of demand it was moved to the Phil Graham Center in San Francisco. It was an awesome show only to be topped by the "21st Century Breakdown" show in St. Louis exactly 7 years and 6 days later. Yeah, I know the "what about the hat?" I will get to it, but not yet.
During this trip, Gretchen and I began to suspect that she may be pregnant. Neither of us wanted to say anything nor did we want to get our hopes up. We were "okay" (for lack of a better word) with the fact that our chances of conceiving a child of our own was slim to none. We had adopted Noah 4 years earlier and had accepted that he would be an only child. God indeed had another plan for us. When we arrived home, we confirmed what we had hoped for. Even though Gretchen did "accuse" me of tampering with the pee stick to make it turn blue. I'm all about a good joke but I wouldn't go that far. (I don't think) 4 years later, God would bless us again. This time with a girl.
Back to California. At some point during this trip we went to Target. Where, yes, I indeed bought the multi-aforementioned hat. At this particular time it was just a hat. Today, it is a hat that is bent out of shape, sweat stained, frazzled with the elastic band separating from the body of it. It is a beige ball cap with a block of red and white surrounded by blue on the front of the bill with the letters USA on the front and a small flag on the back. Side Note: There have been a couple of times I have thought I had someone else's hat on because if you look in the mirror it reds ASU. Yes, I know the S would be backwards but your brain fixes stuff like that. (At least my does.)
Okay so its early August 2001 and I bought a USA hat. No big deal. Until a month later. On September 11, 2001 I was sitting, working in the basement of Peoples National Bank in Fairfield when I was told that a plane a had flown into the World Trade Center. Then a second. The world had changed. I will never forget seeing the towers fall norwill I forget the complete coldness I felt or that feeling of being alone . Maybe someday I will write about that day then again maybe I won't.
So, this hat, that I bought just because I liked the way it looked, became more than just a hat. It became a symbol. A symbol that I have proudly worn for almost 10 years. Minus the 6 months it was hidden between 2 sweaters in the top of the closet, that lead me to wrongfully "accuse" Gretchen of taking it to Good Will. Sorry honey.
Now I have to decide what to do with this hat. When I wear it, I look rather dweebish. It sits crooked, its wrinkled up and looks dirty. I don't know why but I can't let this one go. I think I will try washing it again and try to stretch it out. Whatever the outcome maybe, if it falls apart or I bury with full military honor complete with a 21 BB gun salute or I continue to wear it, this hat will always be more than just a hat.
This was what was on my mind today.