Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hats and Scarves

Scarves and Hats are appropriate in this season. It is getting colder, which is something I like about living in New England. It gets cold here. I like having four seasons. I did like the seasons better in the upper elevations of southern West Virginia when I was a boy. Four months of Spring, two months of Summer (because we were in the mountains), four months of Autumn and two months of Winter--bitter and cold and lots of snow (because we were in the mountains)--that 4/2 and 4/2 ratio seemed perfect to me.

But I do like Winter because you get to wear hats and scarves.

I have two hats I wear in winter. One is a lion cub hat my brother in law, Father Dan (a late vocation Roman Catholic priest) gave me years ago. It is lion tawny with two brown ears and a mane. I like it a lot. My friend Fred gave me a picture that is about a yard wide and two feet tall of me in that hat. The picture is in front of our kitchen fire place. How cool is it to have a kitchen fire place?

The other hat is an Afghan hat of wool that looks like a round room. It belonged, originally, to Brian Vaugh, who was my lay-assistant for several years at St. John's in Waterbury, CT until he became a Buddhist priest, which I was fine with since Buddhists aren't deists and Christians can be Buddhist too. The greatest line about being a Christian I've ever heard was when Brian, who'd just gotten back from a month long Buddhist retreat was telling Larry Brown, a rather conservative member of the parish about his month at coffee hour. Larry is long dead (God bless him) but that Sunday he was taken off guard and said to Brian, "Brian, are you a Christian?"

And Brian said, without a heart-beat between the question and his response: "at least".

Being 'at least' a Christian seems to me to be about right.

When I was wearing Brian's hat, which I picked up off the clothing table in St. John's Soup Kitchen because Brian had put it there and I wanted it, a big--I mean BIG Black man at the bus stop in downtown Waterbury (I often rode the bus to work and back to Cheshire because I liked the people who rode the bus a lot--'real people', if you know what I mean...Real People who worked like dogs and couldn't afford a car and were very friendly on the bus) said to me, when I was wearing Brian's Afghan hat: "Are you a Muslim, man?" And I said, because he was really BIG, I mean seriously BIG and ripping with muscles under his coat, "if you want me to be...."

And people in 7/11's often told me, "That's from my country, your hat." Some even named it for me but I can't remember, being old, what name they told me.

I also have two scarves. One of them if from Brian as well. It is a rainbow scarf made by little old ladies in Appalachia, where I come from. He gave me two and I gave one away to a friend--the husband of a gay priest I know--because he admired it. That's why Brian gave it to me in the first place, because I admired it. Brian often gave me things of his I admired. I always wished he had a Mercedes so I could admire it. But he didn't. An Episcopal Buddhist would never own an expensive German Car, not ever.

That scarf played a big roll in my retirement from full time ministry. Jay, one of the members of the church, used it to wrap around the neck of my effigy and then had it dry cleaned and gave it to me as a gift.

My other scarf is one I bought for Bern, but since I usually by people things because I like them, I would wear it from time to time. It's a huge scarf, in muted colors, about a foot wide and 5 feet long. It wraps around my neck a couple of times with lots to hang down. She recently told me it was 'mine' because it was too big for her. I love it a lot.

Noone can be mean to you when you wear a lion cub hat.

Noone can be aggressive towards you when you wear an Afghan hat with a tiny polar bear pin that people keep trying to wipe off until they recognize it's a polar bear pin and not rubbish.

And most people, I've discovered, love people who wear scarves made by Appalachian women or scarves that are a foot wide and five feet long.

Hats and scarves....they make me lot winter.... 

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.