My Hillbilly Hat

Not Smart Enough for College (62)

The memory of this day remains embedded deep in my brain. It was the summer of 1969, I was engaged to Carol Sorensen, and we decided to go rabbit hunting with my good friend Bill, my sister Connie, and her date (I lined her up). I was wearing an old felt hillbilly hat that I got from some carnival, and I wore it everywhere. For some silly reason I loved that hat.


None of us had hunted much, and we really didn’t know the best places for rabbits, so we just drove until we found a place where we thought rabbits might hang out. We discovered very quickly that we guessed wrong; no rabbits wanted to live in that area.


After tromping around the hills and through the meadows hunting for the little critters, we decided we were bored, so Connie’s date found another way to have fun at my expense. He was mischievous and stole my hat right off my head and threw it in a tree. I could live with that, except he started shooting at it. I was relieved because it appeared that he wasn’t a very good shot, but then, to my dismay, Bill came along and shot it out of the tree with his shotgun. My beautiful hat was now tattered and torn, but I picked it up and wore it home.


As I was driving home, I kept thinking about getting even with Bill, and by the time we got to my house, I had developed the perfect plan. As soon as we got home, I turned the car off, jumped out, and ran into the house wearing what was left of my hat. My mom was in the kitchen, and when she saw my hat she panicked and asked, “What happened?”


I simply said, “That stupid Bill blew it off my head with his shotgun.” The trap was set. I saw it in her eyes, the fear and anguish. She was ready to rip heads, and I knew it wouldn’t be mine. 


When Bill walked into the house her motherly instinct took over. Her anger was at its peak. The pitch of her words was rising and rushing out of her mouth, aimed straight at him. Bill was caught off guard and just stood there stupefied, not knowing why he was being yelled at. I was in the other room laughing hysterically.


Finally, Carol figured out what was going on and explained what really happened. Mom felt silly, apologized to Bill, and then started laughing at herself. At that point I knew I had gotten even, and it was safe for me to go back to where the action was.


When I devised that plan, I knew how mom would react and that when she found out that I used her to get even with Bill she would feel silly but laugh at the joke and the role she played. I appreciated the relationship Mom had with our friends.


Our friends came to our house often and enjoyed being there because it was a house of safety, a house of laughter, a house of love, a house of kindness, a house of peace, and a house of fun.


Our house was a home patterned after mom’s beliefs, her strengths, and her personality.


In our hometown, it is still hot, dry summer, but the days are already getting shorter, and fall is just around the corner. After a tough year of Covid related restrictions and disruptions, many of us are beginning to gather safely once again. As your kids get ready for school and hopefully a more normal year, what talents and values can you use to make your home a place where your kids enjoy having their friends visit and their friends enjoy visiting? 


Happy Failing Forward,


Calvert and Anne

Share This Article:[sgmb id=1]