He’s got 73 hats hanging in the closet.
Golf tournaments, production companies, Rose Bowl Championships, Super Bowl Championships, SC Trojans, L.A. Kings, Dodgers, and the numerous places we traveled on vacation or places my sister visited. These were some of his memories.
They sit there on hooks, just as he left them. My mom swears she’s gonna donate them to the cousins in Guatemala. I tell her it’s gonna be a battle to the death. I’ll steal them away before she does that. She asks me if I really need all those hats. Yeah I need all 73.
Even the ones that say Boar’s Head. Yeah, my Dad was a butcher. A poultry man. Yeah. I need all of them.
It’s not like I’m a hoarder or anything. But it’s really one of the very few things I have left of him. They’ve been hanging in the same spot the last four years. I borrow a few on a weekly basis, but I always put them back. He wore a hat almost everyday, except when we went out to fancy places with me. No baseball cap, maybe a fancy golfers hat if it was chilly.
He wore all of those hats at least once, I remember giving him some of those. The ones from SC and CAL he got from me. The one that said Greatest Dad, he got on Father’s Day. Even with 73, he would have appreciated the 74th one just as much.
Today I took his Dodgers hat and his black windbreaker. I felt the need to wear the hat he was wearing the most, right before he passed away. Felt the need to connect to him more today. He would have turned 67 years old.
Wearing the hats makes me feel more connected to him. I think about all the other hats he would have bought as souvenirs. I think about all the vacations we would have had and the hats I would have bought him in the future. I think about how they just sit there in the closet and how he’s never gonna use them again. It makes me sad. So I pick a hat and think … yeah this would be a good one.
It still breaks my heart to know that this is it. There will be no more adding to the collection. His stories are done. I look at all the hats and try to remember the instances where he wore each one, but they’re becoming fuzzy. I hate that. But I do remember the important ones, and it hurts less.
So today I picked up his Dodger hat … the one he wore on the last game we went together. We sat in the field level. He made an effort to enjoy the game, even though he was sick. I took the ticket stub out of my wallet today and smiled.
I miss my friend.
So I thought I’d throw him a party.
I made one of his favorite meals, steak and potatoes. I baked him a chocolate cake, but not just any chocolate cake. Juliet Child’s Almond Chocolate Cake.
The kids got balloons. I told stories in hopes I would bring him to life for my kids. We sang happy birthday and blew out the candles.
I was trying to be happy and celebrate his life, but I broke down when I went to go visit him. No one really knows how much I miss my friend and wish he would have been there to enjoy the sunset with me. He probably would have been wearing a hat.
This was what I listened to today …