You might be thinking to yourself right about now that you have no idea who George Kalter is. Don't feel bad, I don't know who he is either...but I have his hat.
What I do know is that he was at a seminary in a small town in Illinois. I know this because he wrote his name, address and phone number inside the brim. I feel sort of like I do know him. He obviously had quite a few adventures in this hat, and cared enough about it to write his information in it so that if it ever got lost he could get it back.
For a lot of years I have had a list of things I want. Strange little things. I always wanted a top hat, a ruby ring since it's my birthstone, a genuine carpet bag and among many other things...a pith helmet. Not that long ago I got the top hat, and the year before that I got the ruby ring. I still don't have the carpet bag.
About 15 years ago I was in a second hand store and found a very beat up pith helmet. It had holes in it, and the covering was worn. The inside band was broken and it's outside strap was gone. But it was only five dollars so I bought it because it was one of the very first things that ever went on the list. It's not something you can walk into any department store and just pick up.
I would really like to have a brand new one to wear out in the garden. Maybe I will buy myself one for my upcoming birthday. Even if I get one, I don't foresee ever getting rid of George's. Over the years I have worn it quite a bit.
I don't know what you do in the privacy of your own home, but I sometimes do some pretty odd things. (I am sure you figured that out from reading my blog already! It's ok to admit you would like to be a fly on the wall here once in a while to see it for yourself!) When I am feeling really stressed from work or having too much going on inside my head...or can't quite work out an idea for something I want to make...I put on the pith helmet and wear it around. I am sure it looks ridiculous since the band is gone and it sits too far down on my head. I don't care though, I don't worry about those sorts of things.
It always makes me feel instantly good, calm and clears my thinking. Maybe it's because he was in the seminary and some of that part of George rubbed off on it and stayed with it.
Sometimes I sort through some part of my stuff and give it away to a second hand store. Once it's gone I usually never give it another thought. I am sure whoever gave George's hat away has long forgotten about it. I wonder what they would think if they knew it's still around and the life it's led after it left them? I also wonder if any of my old junk has gone on to be special to someone else?