We’ve been together for ten years, Ugly Hat and I.
It’s not ugly, exactly. It’s just . . . different.
A well-meaning church lady made Ugly Hat and donated it to the pile of hats and gloves and mittens our church was giving to the neighborhood kids who were part of our tutoring and mentoring program in the winter of 2002.
I saw it and thought, “None of these kids will want to be seen in that Ugly Hat. I’d better take it myself.” (In retrospect, this sounds bad. There were more than enough hats to go around, so please don’t imagine that a child went hatless because of me.)
I love Ugly Hat, and have worn it with pride every since. Ugly Hat has received its share of compliments, mostly from nineteen-year-olds who shop at Urban Outfitters and appreciate it ironically.
But coming to Litchfield was like coming home for Ugly Hat. This winter, Ugly Hat has really come into its own, drawing praise wherever we go. For example:
“Oh, what a pretty hat! Did you make that?”
(Clearly, a comment from someone who does not know me.)
“What a great hat! Did someone make that for you?”
(Now you’re getting warmer.)
“I love your hat! Is it a short rib pattern?”
(Whoops! Colder! Also, “short rib pattern” is probably not the exact quote.)
In a land of crocheted dish cloths (the best way to wash dishes), embroidered flour sack dish towels (the best way to dry them), and home canning (the best way to enjoy cucumbers), Ugly Hat fits right in.
Welcome home, Ugly Hat. Welcome home.