For me cooler weather means a switch from skirts to pants and sandals to boots. Sweaters and scarves evict the t-shirts and tank tops, and I bring out my favorite hat. It’s my favorite for a single reason: It was present at the beginning of my relationship with the Dearliest, and it has been a major accessory in the Falls and Winters since.
Its story actually began in the 90s, when a visiting uncle arrived wearing The Coolest Hat Ever. My young teen self asked him where he got it, and my heart sank when he said the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. I wasn’t likely to go there any time soon. I felt doomed to give up my desire.
Fast forward to the year 2000 and high school graduation, at which point the parents of my small graduating class pooled together to send us (with a few chaperones) to Disneyland for 3 days. My first thought when I heard was “THE HAT!” (My second was along the lines of Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain.)
Disneyland came, and Indiana Jones was closed for repairs. Fortunately for me, the gift shop remained open, and willing myself to Not Look at the price tag nor hear the amount when I stood at the register, I bought myself the most expensive hat ever. I wore it a time or two, but for years it simply hung on my wall. Every time I looked at it, I felt happy.
Fast forward again to 2006, during which I met The Dearliest (online, on a homeschool forum), we took a liking to each other’s writing and began an exchange of emails. Some 4 months and 500 emails later, he drove down to California to meet me at an Applebee’s.
The next month he returned for a weekend with my family, and we both acknowledged something serious was happening. The month after that I found myself on a plane to Oregon to meet the Dearliest’s family. I was nervous and wore my heeled boots and The Hat, because I feel stronger when I’m in them.
It turned out that the Dearliest had a similar hat, and as the visits back and forth increased, the hats held their own. He wore his on his weekend visits to me, and I always flew up with mine. It was easy to spot him in the waiting crowds (height notwithstanding), because I need only look for the hat that looked like mine.
The Hats traveled up the coast with us during our honeymoon, and they settled into our first house with us. I wore mine when we moved to the mountain, and again when we left it for town.
It has seen every major moment of my life, and in my mind that makes it the most valuable hat ever.