Our first child was celebrating her second Christmas. She was 15 months old and still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of what all the fuss was about.
We were less poor than we had been previous Christmases. My husband had been working at IBM over a year by then. But we were still living in a trailer with one car. Our ends met, but just barely.
That was the Christmas he bought me The Stetson. It was completely and utterly frivolous and I wanted that hat with my entire being. The year 1980 was the height of popularity for the TV show ‘Dallas’. J.R. had been shot, and in 1981 everyone was still sporting cowboy hats.
Not to mention, I actually had BEEN a cowgirl in my youth. In my hey day — before marriage — before babies — I had trained and showed horses. I had barrel raced and pole bended. I had competed and won.
I had seen The Stetson in a leather shop at our mall and fallen in love with it, feather hat band and all. Of course it was ridiculously priced. I was a stay at home mom with a 15 month old baby. Where the hell would I ever wear a Stetson?
But it didn’t matter. That hat was a touch stone to my past. It reminded me of the Ann That Used To Be. My heart needed it.
You have to understand one thing about my husband in those days — he didn’t know about Christmas. He wasn’t The Grinch, but he wasn’t a citizen of Whoville either. His favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Hands down.
But Christmas morning — The Stetson was there. It was not a surprise — because he didn’t really do surprises, but we went to the mall and we bought that hat. Frivolous, ridiculously expensive, absolutely no practical application to my day to day life Stetson.
Decades later, we are divorced. But I still have The Stetson. And the memory of the love of a gift given because. Simply because.