Posted tagged ‘hats’

“I believe we should all behave quite differently if we lived in a warm, sunny climate all the time.”

February 3, 2015

During the night, the temperature plummeted, and the rain turned back to snow. We got a couple of inches, a couple of dangerous inches, just enough to hide the ice underneath it. My road had been slush. Now it is frozen. When I went to get the papers, my neighbor drove by ever so cautiously, and his car made crunching sounds as it was driven over the ice. When I got back to my door, the push knob on the storm door would not work. I pounded it with my fist but got nowhere. I was freezing. I then got a little desperate and pounded so heavily I hurt the edge of my hand, but that got the knob to work. I opened the door and ran inside, happy for the warmth.

We have sun and blue skies, but nothing is melting. It is just too cold.

Last night wasn’t a great night. Miss Gracie had stomach issues so I had to give her more of my spider plant fronds. At 4 o’clock, she seemed a bit better so I decided to try sleeping on the couch. Gracie jumped on with me and fell asleep. We woke up at 8. Just a while ago she again was gulping so she got the last three long fronds. Now she is fine and sleeping beside me on the couch. I am exhausted.

When I was a kid, I still had to walk to school in the freezing cold. I remember walking by the field at the foot of my street and fighting the wind blowing across. The layers weren’t much help. I think it must have been a bit like the Siberian steppes during a Russian winter. The cold seeped to my bones. My face was red and raw. Sometimes we walked backwards to avoid the wind in our faces. We didn’t have the comfort of down jackets. We layered. I wore snow pants under my skirt and knee socks inside my boots. My mother even bought me some pink underwear which went down as far as my knees. I wore a hat, a knitted one which tied under my chin. Winter was the bulky season.

Watching the news, I saw a man commenting about the foot of new snow in Boston. He was asked about walking on sidewalks and the street. He said it was treachery. I thought about it for a bit and decided he might just be right.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

December 30, 2014

No mistake about it. Winter has us in its clutches. It’s darn cold now and will go even lower tonight, to 19˚. The Christmas warmth must have been a gift from Mother Nature who is back to her old self again. As for me, I have to go out for an hour or so then I’m hurrying home to get cozy, nestle under the afghan and read. The laundry will sit in the hall another day.

This is the lame duck time of the year. Christmas is over and it’s not yet the new year. I guess it’s the week of reading new books and eating Christmas cookies. The weeks before Christmas were busy. There was baking, wrapping and decorating. The cards had to be addressed and they and the packages had to be sent. Every day had a bit of frantic about it. Christmas Day was making dinner then everything was over; everything was finished. I believe I heard a collective sigh of relief.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day demand no preparation. My days of partying, wearing conical hats and blowing noise makers are over. I have no need to join the revelers. In my younger days, I would have been at a party with a drink in hand and a silly hat on my head. Now I’ll be home wearing my pajamas. If I have the celebratory spirit, I can still wear a funny hat and have a drink in my hand. I will definitely watch the Times Square ball fall and I’ll yell Happy New Year.

I remember when I was little, I wanted to be awake for the New Year. My parents agreed, but only because they knew I’d never make it. Midnight was way beyond my usual bedtime. I sat on the couch wearing my hat and holding my noisemaker which I was not allowed to blow because the noise was driving my father crazy. I drank ginger ale and felt adult. I also fell asleep and missed wishing every one a Happy New Year.

I made no resolutions. I liked last year, and I’m happy. I am content with who I am.

“Cock your hat – angles are attitudes.”

May 23, 2013

I wish it would rain. The day is cloudy and a dampness has given the house a bit of a chill so I’ve lowered the downstairs windows. Yesterday I did a few chores and a couple of errands. One stop was for cat food and clay flower pots at Agway. Tomorrow I’ll shop to fill the pots and also get herbs for the herb garden and the deck window boxes. Next week I’ll buy some front garden flowers. I noticed a few empty spots.

The spawns have found a new way to harass me. The tall bird feeder holder with the anti-squirrel baffle at the bottom had to be moved. The spawns were jumping from trees to get at the top of the pole where there are holders for four feeder stations, and the spawns have enjoyed dining at each one. When Skip came last week, I had him move the pole away from all the trees. Now the spawns are flying off the deck to the feeders. The problem, though, is getting off. There is no easy way so they sort of just fall unto the fence below the pole, the fence which is protecting my vegetable garden. The spawns knock over the posts and the wire gets bent down from the force of their bodies falling from so high. It has happened three times and I have fixed the fence three times. Now I have this dream of a hunter dressed in khaki, wearing a pith helmet, also khaki, sitting on my deck steps with an elephant gun in his hand just waiting for the spawns. I think I’ll have them mounted. Meanwhile, the feeders remain empty until I can figure out a solution.

The hunter’s pith helmet got me thinking about hats. When we were little kids, we had two main hats. One was for winter, a woolen hat with ear flaps and a pretty design, and the other was an Easter hat, usually a new one each year to match our dresses. The Easter hats had ribbons in blue, yellow or spring green, but it didn’t matter to me how pretty or flowery or filled with ribbons the hats were because I never liked hats. My mother, however, insisted I wear a hat when I walked to school on blustery cold winter days, but it never helped all that much to keep me warm. My head might have been fine, but my face was always freezing cold with bright red cheeks. Mittens were more essential. The Easter hat went into the closet and was pulled out only for Sundays.

I don’t wear hats any more. In the winter I sprint from the house to the car and back again when I get home. On Easter I wear one to my friends’ house: it’s a wide brim pink hat like those models during the 50’s wore. I don’t wear it to dinner when we go out though I might one year as a lark.

Maybe in my future is me as an eccentric old lady wearing a hat every place I go, even the dentist. I think I’ll start with the old faded red band hat with the plume. I’ll drop feathers everywhere I go.

“Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals.”

March 31, 2013

The sun is shining on this Easter morning. The air is still, and the day is getting warmer. No winter coats will cover pastel Easter dresses. I can hear birds singing even though the windows are closed. Yesterday I saw a few buds on one of my bushes. The buds are tiny and closed tightly, but they are another sign that spring is gaining hold.

The alarm rang at 6:15 this morning, and I turned it off and went back to sleep for an hour. I had set it early so I could sneak down my friends’ house and decorate the tree which hangs over their deck: it’s an annual Easter surprise. Though if it’s annual, is it really a surprise? Anyway, when I realized how late it was, I was afraid they’d be awake, but Gracie and I went anyway. The car was covered in frost so I scrapped the windows and off we went. At their house, all the shades were down so they were still abed. I went on the deck and started decorating. One of the giant decorated paper lanterns fell over the deck rail. That meant walking off the deck then all around the outside of the deck and through the underbrush to retrieve it. That was an adventure. The leaves and branches were soaked and sucked up one of my slippers. I had to yank it out of the muck. I found a bird feeder covered in wet leaves and put it on the deck rail. I also saw a mango. I’m still perplexed a bit about the mango, strange spot for one. While I was mucking about, the door opened and out came Darci, their dog. Whoever let her out never looked so I wasn’t caught. I walked back to the deck, petted Darci for a while, hung the lantern then sneaked away. I just got a call thanking me for the surprise and telling me how lovely the tree looks.

I remember so well Easter Sunday mass when I was young. The church was always beautiful and filled with light. The sun shined through the stained glass windows. The dark purple of lent had been replaced by white and all the statues were uncovered. Flowers decorated the floor in front of and all around the altar. I remember the lilies because they were the tallest. The church was always crowded. Women wore hats, fancy hats with veils, small see through veils that went down as far as their eyes. The men wore suits and carried their hats into the church. Little girls wore dresses in pinks and blues and all the different shades of pastel. They wore short white gloves and round hats with ribbons. Their shoes were patent leather, both black and white, and were worn with fancy white socks with lace around the edges. Some boys wore suits, ones with jackets checkered in the front. Others wore white shirts and ties and new pants with deep creases. The shoes were always new and always with laces. The choir sang at Easter. If I had known the word back then, I would have said it was majestic, mass on Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter!

“Her hat is a creation that will never go out of style; it will just look ridiculous year after year.”

November 13, 2012

The sky got black almost as quickly as in a science fiction movie just before the aliens arrive, but the rain came instead; it fell in torrents. Gracie stayed in the car while I was at my library board meeting, and I had left a window open for her. I don’t think she was thankful. The inside door and the seat were soaked, but Gracie, being both smart and practical, had moved over to the dry side. On the drive home, I splashed through flooded streets and had to be careful about hydroplaning. Right now the day has an eerie light, but it has stopped raining for the meantime. Gracie is resting from her ordeal.

Today is my errand day and I have only finished two of five, but the rain just started again, not so perfect for grocery shopping. How sad that makes me.

I have never been a hat person. My mother sometimes forced one on me at Easter, a hat in a pastel, usually pink or blue, with small flowers. I always felt a bit self-conscious. I’d put up my hood on the coldest days when I walked to school, but I seldom wore a real hat. On rainy days my hair got wet. I remember my mother trying to make me wear one of those silly transparent hats which tie under the chin and fold up to fit into a small pouch. I always thought of them as old lady hats kept by them in oversize purses in case of rain emergencies. I have earmuffs, and I don’t mind wearing them. I have a couple of baseball hats which I actually wear at baseball games to keep the sun at bay. When I lived in Ghana, I had a straw hat I wore for a bit, but I felt like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm so I stopped wearing it. My neighbor across the street always wears a similar hat when she works in the garden. She looks a bit like Ma Kettle working the farm.

I have a hat collection. That always makes me chuckle a bit at the irony.

“Nothing gives me as much pleasure as travelling. I love getting on trains and boats and planes.”

August 18, 2011

Yesterday was a perfect birthday. Waiting for me outside when I opened the door were mums from my dear friends Tony and Clare. What day doesn’t bring wonder when it starts with flowers? After that, the present which had been sitting where I could see it for a few days finally got opened. I loved it. My sisters called in the morning and one of them sang a bit. I had my usual Wednesday dinner with friends, and it was ribs, one of all time favorites. I got a cake, more presents and a rendition of Happy Birthday. The evening ended with a very funny play. My birthday continues with dinner tonight and tomorrow night! I love an endless celebration.

I have strange random thoughts bouncing around in my head today, and that’s what you’re going to get. It occurred to me that one of the changes over time is that men and women shake hands. When I was a kid, only men shook hands with each other. Women sometimes clasped each others’ hands, but they didn’t shake hands with men.

I don’t like hats all that much except at a baseball game in the sun, but strangely enough I look good in hats. I collect them, and I wear a few more for laughs than chic or fashion. My pink one is from the fifties. I should have a waist small enough for my hands to go around, tall heels with straps and a swanky dress when I wear it. It is hanging from the shelf right next to the fedora. They seemed the most natural pair.

Train travel is one of my favorite ways to get from one place to another, but I haven’t traveled by train in years. In Europe I have crossed the continent by train and gone from the coast of Finland to Lapland, and I got to sleep in a couchette. In South America I went a good portion of Ecuador on an auto-bus. Ghana used to have a great train system, and I usually traveled from Accra to Kumasi by train. Once I took the sleeper from Kumasi to Takoradi. On my yet to do list is to take a train to Colorado or as as close as I can get to visit my sister. I want to go across country with Ricky, Lucy, Ethel and Fred.

Houses should be built with porches. That way we get to wave at our neighbors and enjoy the swing. Every Sunday Andy, Aunt Bea and Barney sat on the porch after dinner. Aunt Bea rocked, Andy sang and Barney fell asleep. We lose touch with people when we stay hidden in the back on our decks. I do love my deck, but I also think I’d love a porch. After he retired, my dad used to sit on the front steps and drink his coffee during the nicer seasons. Everybody waved from cars and people wished him good morning when they walked by his house. That was his version of a porch.

When my sister was coming east from Colorado to visit, she never started the countdown until a week before her trip, but she came fairly often when the kids were young. I am not so patient. It has been forty years so I have started the countdown. Nine days to go!

“Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter That maketh the leaf and the flower come out.”

April 21, 2011

The day is beautiful with a bright sun and a deeply blue sky. The temperature will reach 58°, almost sunning on the deck weather. Gracie has been out most of the morning while Fern is basking in the sun from the front door. The forsythia in the garden is in full bloom. Its yellow leaves are almost too bright for my eyes, but I’m not complaining. They are a welcome sight. The buds on the trees are becoming more prominent, and my small lilac bush actually has tiny green leaves. Spring is finally here.

We’d have already bought our Easter clothes by now. My sisters tended to the frilly and both loved hats. White shoes with a strap and gloves completed their outfits. I remember how excited they were to have such lovely new clothes. I was into simple and easy to wear, but I always choose a dress because that’s what we all wore. I remember when I was older, probably around 12, I chose a suit like outfit. When we were at my grandmother’s, I heard my mother tell one of my aunts I wanted to be casual. It sounded as if she was defending my choice of a outfit lacking frills and Easter colors. My brother got stuck with a new shirt, pants and a tie. The tie was always a clip on.

During Easter week, the church had services from Holy Thursday through Easter. On Holy Thursday night, the service included the washing of the feet. My mother and I went one year, the year my grandfather was chosen to have his feet washed. All I remember is neither of us could stop laughing. We were able to be quiet, but our shaking shoulders gave us away. Neither one of us dared look at the other. I don’t know what started us, but I do know we took a long time to stop. My grandfather was short so maybe it was tangling feet or the look on his face, so solemn, as the priest knelt before him as he washed my grandfather’s feet. The only other part of that service I remember is the smell of incense as the priest walked up and down the middle aisle slowly moving the incense burner back and forth. I loved that smell.

This Easter my friends Clare, Tony and I, are going out to eat, to the same place we went last year. It is on the ocean and the view is spectacular as is the food. I won’t be in frills or petticoats, but I’ll be dressy. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll might wear a hat in memory of those long ago Easters!

“I was one of Them: the Strange Ones. The Funny People. The Odd Tribes of autograph collectors and photographers.”

September 24, 2010

Today is overcast, cool and breezy. A dampness in the air hints at rain. When I went on the deck to watch Gracie, I had to wear my sweatshirt, but I didn’t mind. The sunny, lovely days of the rest of the week were wonderful, but I like today almost as much. I enjoy the contrast. It’s a day to stay close to hearth and home, wear my cozies, stretch out on the couch and read. It’s a nap day.

I have a genetic disposition for collecting inherited from my mother’s side. If she were reading this, she’d be complaining because we all say everything came from her side, but everything did. Some stuff none of us like, but collecting is a favorite. My sister Sheila has a huge Star Trek collection highlighted by a life size cardboard Kirk. He stands in her bedroom. Once I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I walked into her bedroom and thought someone was standing there. It spooked me a bit. My sister Moe has corn husk dolls and nativity sets. These are the collections of theirs I remember best, as I am always on the lookout for stocking stuffers to add to their collections.

My hat collection hangs off the floor to ceiling bookcase in this room. One hat came back with me from Ecuador, another from Morocco. My sister sent me a hat from Ghana she had found in my mother’s house, and two others, made of straw and made in my town, hang on the wall. My other sister gave me her Easter hat from when she was small. It has a long blue ribbon and reminds me of the hats the girls wore in Little House on the Prairie. Most of the other hats are ones I found along the way. Collecting hats just somehow happened. I started with the Ghanaian hats, and before I knew it, I had a collection.

Like my sister, I collect nativity sets. Most of mine come from other countries. They are unique and mirror the cultures where they were made. I have three different ones from Africa. One of the African sets prompted me to made a clay Ghanaian compound with two huts. I made straw roofs for the huts and added pots, gourds and other household tools. I even made a broom, the kind used outside the house to sweep dirt. A beehive oven sits near the compound wall. My house has a mortar and pestle for fufu making and buckets to use when fetching water. A baobab tree stands next to the wall of the compound. That set has become my favorite.

I have B&W pictures of people I don’t know, brides and grooms, old toys including a View-Master with a bunch of discs, many sets of places where I’ve been, even the Ghanaian one.

My house has run out of room for any more collections so I have vowed to start no new ones, but I didn’t pinky swear on purpose.

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