Not that anyone is counting, but this is my 180th article for this fine newspaper. In article 88, I described a wedding I attended in Williamsburg. When I went out to make a phone call, I observed a stranger driving away in my silver Acura. The valet had erred as the stranger and I owned similar cars. At any rate, I was reunited with my car, but upon arriving home, I found the man’s hat in my front seat. Through the good graces of the Nachum Segal radio show, the stranger and his hat were reunited a few days later. All seemed well in the hat world.
That is, until article 180.
A few weeks back, someone in my shul accidentally left the premises with my hat, a lovely black fedora with a sporty feather. A week later, the hat did not reappear. I pulled out my back-up hat from the closet. It was not as fancy as my primary hat and did not fit quite as well. The back-up is gray while my first love is black. For good reason, it had been relegated to back-up duty. Now, I do not mean to insult hat number two, but simply wish to point out that it is a back-up hat for a reason.
I do have an emotional attachment to that grey fedora, having sort of inherited it from a relative. My great uncle Seymour passed away and his family held a memorial tribute for him. As the proceedings concluded, Seymour’s son approached me and asked what my hat size was. I’ve been asked some weird questions in my lifetime but given where we were, I couldn’t imagine the relevance of such a question. Long story short, Seymour had purchased the gray hat two weeks before his passing and never wore it. Of all the relatives present, we seemed shared a hat size. So after a moving tribute to my dead relative, I had a new hat.
I felt a bit funny, not only by acquiring it at a memorial, but also because the hat did not really fit that well. By the same token, I didn’t want to look a gift horse in the, well, head. I overcame all my doubts and proudly donned the gray hat and drove home.
Now, my neighbor is one of the finest neighbors one could ever hope for and we get along swimmingly.