I have always liked hats.
One of my favorite photos of myself growing up was of me caught sitting on the potty reading a Porky the Pig comic book wearing one of my dad's bowler hats. I was just 2 or 3 years old at the time. My oldest sister, Rita, had just gotten herself a camera for Christmas and she was busy snapping candid photos of the family. Such as me in my dad's hat on the toilet.
That picture hung in a prominent place in our family bathroom for years. It now sits in a box of photos here in our house.
I had a wonderful hat that was a certified Indiana Jones fedora that I wore proudly for several years. I wore it on one of my trips to the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona years ago. A Navajo preacher friend of mine, Roy Begay, became smitten with that hat. As a gesture of kindness and friendship I gave my fedora to him before I left to return home. I missed that hat for a long time, mourned its loss really. Years later I came across a similar one in a store, but I couldn't find one that fit my big head.
I had a real nice cowboy hat that I found in a western wear store that I had specially shaped and fitted to my head. I loved that hat, but I didn't wear it that often. It was really too big and fancy. More of a show piece really. It sat on a shelf in my closet for a long time.
We had a fundraiser for a mission trip one time, and I decided that my cowboy hat might bring a little money in the sale, so off the shelf it came and onto the sales table it went. I was ready to change my mind and take that hat back home with me when a young man from the church picked up the hat. I watched as he tried it on and surprisingly it fit his head and he decided to buy it. So I said a final farewell to another hat.
I have an old straw hat that I still wear on rare occasions, but that too sits on a shelf in my closet most of the time. But, now if I put a hat on my head, it is usually one of my odd assortment of baseball caps.
I have a dark blue cap with a big fancy D on it. Most people think it is a Detroit Tigers hat, but not me. That big D stands for Doug Dezotell.
I have a nice silver and white cap with a fancy A on it. Some folks may say that it's an Atlanta Braves hat, but no sir. That fancy A stands for Alpha Dezotell Scott, my mother. She was the Big A!
Then I have several caps with NY on them. One dark blue and one tan. Those caps don't stand for the New York Yankees, but to me they are a reminder that I have Not Yet arrived. NY is not yet. I am in the process of becoming what God wants me to be, but I am Not Yet there. I am on my way to Heaven, but I am Not Yet there.
And I have a nice dark blue cap with a big M on it. Now that one does represent the Minnesota Twins. I was a big Twins fan growing up on the Minnesota border, not too far away from Minneapolis-St. Paul. I bought that cap in Minnesota and it sits on my shelf in the closet too.
But, you know, the hat that I am the most thrilled to be able to wear these days is the Grandpa hat. I put that hat on proudly. I have two beautiful little granddaughters that have won my heart since the minute I first laid eyes on them. Charli Dezotell is 2 years old, almost 3. Kori Dezotell is 5 months old.
I recently had the privilege of taking care of them both together. I smile a lot when I am with these little ladies. I smile and change diapers and wipe bottoms. I smile and watch cartoons and listen to silly songs. I smile and fix Kori a bottle. I smile and give Charli a cookie. No wait, she's figured out how to get the cookies herself.
Yes sir, I like my Grandpa Hat the best. I would love to have another Indiana Jones hat, and maybe someday I'll get another fancy cowboy hat. But, the next hats I buy will be ones with a big C for Charli and a big K for Kori. Or one with a big G for Grandpa or a big P for Papa.
With winter coming on, I might just get my stocking cap to keep my big head warm.
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.