Saturday, November 30, 2013

“Some hats can only be worn if you're willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you're only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.” ― Neil Gaiman

I love true Panama hats.  My first was a gift from Gary Lunsford, but for here in equatorial East Africa, there is nothing better to keep the fierce sun (jua mkali) from creating even more skin cancer on my head.  I have had two months of daily radiation on the top of my head to deal with skin cancer I got in Arkansas.  There is a hole with no hair where the radiation target was, so I have to keep my head covered at all times.  We were watching a show last night about a guy building a house in France, and he wore the ugliest hats.  Maybe they were practical, but boy were they ugly--and he had many of them.  I love my Panama hat, hand woven in Ecuador (apparently "Panama" refers to the style).  My angel in New York City, my daughter-in-law Brenda has managed to send me three that have all arrived in perfect shape.  The first one got dirty and one of our house workers washed it.  Do not wash Panama hats--they come out as just a bundle of straw.  My second one served me well for many years but got accidentally run over by a tractor delivering gravel for filters.  My latest is the one I like the best of the three.  You can see by the photo at right that it just makes me feel "a step away from dancing."  I know of no higher compliment.
On a bittersweet note, my brothers and my sister commited my mother's ashes to the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas, where her ashes join my father's in the river they both loved so much.  It hurt not to be there, but I prayed from here.  It is a comfort to know that her wishes were carried out and that she has rejoined her husband of over sixty years.  Karen wants her ashes scattered in Lake Victoria, and my sons, Chris and John, say they are going to carry mine to the top of Kilimanjaro.  I just hope they wait till I've died.  I think that's romantic, too.  Karen and I both in the places we love in the country where we have served God and His children for many years.

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