I had a hat that looked like the ones the Adjusters wore.
It was given to me by my friend Ed. On Sundays I ran a Southern Gospel show on my college radio station and Ed hosted Stained Glass Bluegrass which came on after me. Over the years we had many short conversations as we were handing over the mic and struck up a warm friendship. Ed was probably forty years my senior and I considered him an elder and a mentor. His warm voice would take me home those Sunday mornings.
Ed had been through much and seen a lot over the years. There was a toughness to him. But one day something changed. There was a new light in his eyes and a gentleness that I had not seen before. He confessed to me, with that wry grin on his face, that he had become a Christian. His love of sacred bluegrass took on an added dimension. He had always loved the music and now he knew the One who inspired it.
Our friendship continued, deepened, and so Ed gave me his hat. He was already an older man then so I am sure that he has passed through that final door long ago.
I wore the hat many times on special occasions mostly when I was playing music. Any time I put it on I always felt something special, a connection to a dear elder and friend. Over the years, it got pretty battered and smashed and so I think I finally got rid of it.
But I miss having it to put on. I’ve worn a lot of hats over the years with varying degrees of comfort. My head is a weird shape and I often get headaches when I wear something on my head. They have taken me through many different doors, to places that have become part of the patchwork of my life.
My memory of Ed is one of those doors. And the hat that he gave me is still the most comfortable hat I have ever worn.
April 2, 2011