It was an ugly hat. No two ways about it. But it was warm and comfortable and I lost it two hunting trips ago.
Which is going to make Christmas shopping all that much easier for my wife.
The only downside is that she hated that hat, was actually glad I lost it, and is probably going to be upset that itís all I want for Christmas.
About the best thing she ever said about that hat was: "Thank goodness itís orange. That way, the only time you can wear it is during hunting season and the only people whoíll see you wearing are your hunting friends who are probably wearing something every bit as ugly while all of you wander around the hills smelling to high heaven."
After 36 years, she pretty much has me and this hunting thing figured out.
Still, itís going to be easy to replace the hat because itís made right here in Seattle by a company thatís been around for a really long time. Their store is near Safeco Field (Note: That means not in a mall) and itís actually a pleasant place to visit. Their goods are sewn on site and pretty much made the same way as they have been for years.
OK, theyíre a bit pricey, but the stuff they make never seems to wear out. Iíve got a couple of shirts and a sweater or two that are more than 15 years old. They still look good, have never lost a button or opened a seam, and will likely last another 15 years.
Where Iím going with all of this is that Iím glad that neither my wife nor I have to be part of the shopping madness. Apparently, along with every thing else that goes with getting older, weíve reached the point where Ė without a second thought - we took one look at the news coverage of "Black Friday," rolled our eyes, and said: "No thanks."
If you want to know where we were at 12:01 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, youíd have been pretty safe betting your money on "in bed."
If you went looking for us at 4 a.m. or some other ungodly hour that same morning, the first and only stop you needed to make was at that same bed. In fact, the only line we mightíve been part of that night is the one for our bathroom since frequent nightly visits now seem to be a regular part of our lives.
Are we going to buy gifts for others this year?
This is the favorite time of year for both of us. Our kids will be coming to visit, our granddaughter needs to be spoiled, and I have some hunting buddies who need a goofy gadget to add to all of the other stuff we cart around with us when weíre out there.
Itís just that weíve decided not to become the "purchasing units" that every blaring advertisement these days seems to be urging us to become.
By "purchasing unit" I mean that it appears that many retailers want all of us to become cogs who go to work in order to make money so as to buy something that we canít really afford to give as a gift to someone who doesnít need it anyway. Itís become the American way.
Minor aside: Has anyone else noticed how loud all of the ads seem to be in relation to whatever program youíre watching? I admit that my hearing isnít what it used to be, but I find it annoying to be straining to hear the dialog in a program but then have to run the volume down whenever a commercial comes on.
At any rate, as regards Christmas shopping, weíve both pretty much reached a point where we: (a) Donít want to be part of a stampede; (b) Enjoy being able to browse an entire store in under 15 minutes; and (c) Have no plans to run our credit cards through the roof.
So, this year Iíll find her something (she has this thing about chocolate) that she likes and weíll get our kids a few things theyíve mentioned.
Which isnít going to make the big retailers happy at all and will probably get us both put on a "watch" list somewhere.
So be it.
As for me, my wife knows exactly what I want.
Iíve even promised not to wear it anywhere on this side of the mountains.