Monday, December 10, 2007

How Long Has It Been Since You Cleaned That Hat?

Papaw, my father-in-law, wears a silver gray Stetson. He has been wearing it for several years, indoors and out, dress-up or casual, going out to dinner or working on his car. I told my husband that the hat needed cleaning. His first suggestion was to just buy a new hat.
A Stetson is not a casual purchase; it's an investment.
And Papaw likes his hat. He doesn't really want a new one.
So I suggested that we get the hat cleaned.
Wick said if I could find a place to get it cleaned, he would take it.
So I called Cavender's and asked, "Do you clean hats?"
The guy who answered said, "We sure as h#!! do, darlin'!"
I said well great, how long would it take?
He said, "We can do it in five minutes!"
I said now before you make any promises, you need to know that my father-in-law has been wearing this hat for several years, and it is pretty dirty.
He said, " If ol' Joe can't clean that hat in five minutes, I'll kick his @$$!"
I said okay, we'll bring it right over.

Now Papaw is quite attached to his hat. And he also has a little trouble hearing. So when I told him we were taking his hat to be cleaned, I'm not sure he understood. Or maybe we did it so fast he didn't have time to object. Wick and his brother took off with the hat, and my sister-in-law went to take a shower and do her hair before we went out to eat, leaving me to entertain Papaw.

We talked about his new place (assisted living), the cute nurse who bring him a banana and a glass of milk before he goes to bed at night, the one who helps him shower, and other assorted topics. Suddenly he put his hand on his head, and said, "Where's my hat?"

I reminded him that the guys had taken it to be cleaned. He said oh yeah, I forgot.

When the guys got back, they didn't have the hat. I asked where it was, and Wick said, "Joe said that's more than a five-minute job."
I said, so is Joe going to get his @$$ kicked?
Papaw said, "Who's gettin' his @$$ kicked? I want to see that!"
Then he said, "Where's my hat?"

We went out to eat while the hat was being cleaned.

I was not surprised that it was more than a five-minute job, since Papaw had frequently handled this pale gray Stetson when his hands were greasy up to the elbows from working on his car.

Several times during dinner he asked where his hat was, and each time when we reminded him it was being cleaned, he asked, "Well how long is it going to take?"

I didn't know, but I was pretty sure it was going to be more than five minutes.

When we got ready to leave the restaurant, he started looking for his hat again. The guys took us back to the house and went to get the hat.

When they brought it back, Wick said, "Joe says he didn't quite get it clean, but if we'll bring it back more often, he thinks he can get it cleaner."

Papaw examined every inch of his Stetson when Wick handed it to him, and then said, "Well I'll be d@**, I didn't know it was that dirty! It looks brand new, don't it?"

It might not look brand new, but it certainly looks better than it did before.

However, I still wish I could have seen Joe's face when he decided that hat was not a five-minute job.