“Hiya, Case, Where’d you get that hat?” He yelled at me as I walked up his driveway. He was parked in a chair probably older than I was and drinking a styrofoam cup of coffee. His eyes were fixed upward into one of their proud oak trees, looking for their pet squirrel.
I smirked at him, “I know a guy…”
He laughed, still watching the activity above, just as he had done for a living many years before. “I never liked that one anyway, and neither did the guys… It was cheap, just like the bookkeeper who ordered it…”
It was a red and white foam trucker hat, with a red triangle patch that paid homage to his final employer. He was right, the hat was an Oriental turd, but I didn’t care. It was his. “I never wore that one, that is probably why it was still around.”
“…We used to get good ones, but then one day a "Bean Counter" was out driving around and saw some ol’ "Wino" wearing a Delta Electric hat and got bent outta shape. I guess he thought we were ungrateful, so he punished us with those..”
I couldn’t help but giggle, because 30 years later, it appeared he was still annoyed by the hat’s existence— and here I was wearing it to remind him.
He pointed into the canopy as he located the squirrel that he and my Grandma had rescued from It’s imminent death during a tree trimming project when it was still pink. They had recently released him back into the wild and like the committed Great Grandparents they are, they doted and worried about him as if he were one of us kids. "Slip" was excited because this time there wasn’t just one squirrel-- there were two.
To a proud Parent’s delight, it appeared at first glance their squirrel had made a friend! They were chattering, hopping branches, and carrying on— knocking fresh oak leaves down to the asphalt below. With puffed, twitching tails, they raced with enthusiasm through the twisted oak branches. As they got closer to us, we realized this was not the extra squirrel’s introduction to family we had hoped for.
Helplessly below, "Slip" and I witness to a wild rodent justice, our squirrel on trial for something the three of us knew nothing about. He was merely an apprentice to freedom and new to the climb! We held our breath as the assumed “friend” caught up to him.
With one misstep, "Slip’s" baby fell from 30 feet— hitting the driveway with a thud that even an 88 year old ex-Lineman could hear. “Oh, my Gawd!” "Slip" yelled as he rolled forward in attempt to get up from his antique aluminum chair. The squirrel bounced to his feet in terror, as an old dog on a diet tried hard for a stunned, startled snack.
When the rodent profanity stopped and the excitement died down, "Slip" then began with the story of "Baby Ben" Carter...
*Not-so-shitty hats available now on our website!