How I Got My Hat Back

Panama Hat

My Hat

Yesterday, 17 July, my wife and I celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of our marriage by going to dinner at a The Bistro, a local establishment in Oswego, New York, our city of residence, where we have previously had pleasant experiences.  Not the least part of that pleasure is the affability of the establishment’s bartender, Mark, whom I know also from Old City Hall, where we both like to drink.  Mark, a former SUNY Oswego Philosophy major, is a friendly acquaintance.

In any case, I tried to dress for the occasion.  It was too hot and muggy for a jacket but I wore a black tuxedo-style shirt with a bow tie and I sported my new hat, a white Panama with the characteristic broad brim and a black band.  When we decided to eat at the bar, I put the hat on the table behind us, where, of course, I failed to retrieve it when we got up to leave.  (The two Martinis might have had something to do with it.)

Not only did I leave the hat behind, but I forgot it entirely.  Then, around ten o’clock this morning, my telephone (yes – I maintain a land line) rang and when I picked it up I recognized the voice of my friend Dick Fader, who is also a regular at Old City Hall.  Dick told me that he had just received a telephone call from Mark (my number not being known to him), and that Mark had told him (that is, Dick) that he (that is, Mark) had rescued my hat when he left work, and that he had left it for me at Old City Hall.

I thanked Dick for passing along the message and when I was out in the car running my daily errands, I stopped in at Old City Hall to ask after the object.  Alison, the waitress on duty during the lunch-shift, kindly went looking for it, but could not find it.  I thought to myself, well, maybe Dick got the message a bit mixed up and the hat is still at The Bistro with Mark.  Now, having remembered my hat, I wanted not to lose it.

The Bistro opens for business at four, but I knew that Mark would be in at three setting things up.  He was and I knocked on the door.  I said, “Dick told me you rescued my hat.”  “Yes,” he answered, “but I hadn’t been by Old City Hall yet when you made your earlier visit.”  Mark knew of my earlier visit because Alison had told him about it.  Old City Hall lies about a hundred paces from The Bistro, so I walked there and as soon as Alison saw me, she reached behind the counter and returned the item too me.  She had placed it neatly in a large plastic bag – the kind that they use for take-out orders – so that it would not accidentally get dirtied.

Does my little story have a moral?  Only that if it had been Syracuse, the regional capitol of virtue-signaling diversity, instead of bland, we’re-all pretty-much-the-same Oswego my hat would simply have disappeared.  The difference between Syracuse and Oswego is that the former is relatively large (250,000 or so) and Oswego is relatively small (16,000 or so).  Small is beautiful.

11 thoughts on “How I Got My Hat Back

  1. Pingback: How I Got My Hat Back | @the_arv

  2. I left a hat in a restaurant in downtown Bryan a few years ago. When I went to retrieve it, they denied having seen it. Just then the door to the kitchen swung open and there it was, on the cook’s head! They told me that one just looked like my hat.

    • When I was in graduate school at UCLA in the mid-1980s (the time and the place where Susan and I met), the campus was plagued by professional thieves, who used public transportation to travel from the hell-holes in which they lived to the be-gardened campus, where they plied their trade. My friend Ken had a fancy, new Sony Walk-Man or the equivalent. We were in one of the many campus restaurants eating lunch. I knew that one had to keep an eagle’s eye on his personal property, but my friend did not. I went to the cafeteria line to get a hamburger, while he sorted out his books and his rucksack. Apparently he left his Walk-Man on the table but turned his back to it to zip up his rucksack. In those few seconds, a thief lifted his nifty portable cassette-player. It was swift and stealthy. Ken saw nothing. The student population of UCLA in those days was around 30,000 total, or twice as many as the population of Oswego. The professional-thief population must have been several hundred, aided and abetted by SCRTD “public transport vouchers” for folks on welfare. Welcome to California.

  3. Pingback: How I Got My Hat Back | Reaction Times

  4. Dr. Bertonneau:

    Humorous post! But in all seriousness, congratulations to you and your Mrs. for the 30 year anniversary of your marriage! My Mrs. and me celebrated, this past June 27, our 31st anniversary. So we have you by a year, I guess. And I didn’t even lose my hat! But if I had, of course, chances are some nobleman or the other would have happily gathered it up and placed it in safe keeping, and returned it upon request.

    I agree, sir – smaller is better. But I am a little (or a lot, rather) biased on the point.


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