[The following letter is personal, but in the interest of sharing some fun, mixed with a pathetic public display of base desire, I share this little epistle in confidence. Please don’t tell. Thank you. The truth is that such time for orders is nearly past. I will not get this. But it was fun composing the letter.]
My Dearest Wife and Son:
I am reticent to compose these words, but in keeping with your kind requests concerning my needs, or desires, to celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord, I humbly lay this thought at thy dear feet. My contemplations are the result of a growing realization about my estate. However, I would add that the proposal is less about me and more about the greater thoughts of humanity.
I now realize my destiny and the curated artifact most appropriate to commemorate this new season of life. I am not the first to arrive at this state, not by any stretch of the imagination. However, those who have had the guts have gained the glory. Some like the North Carolina folk singer, Mr. James Taylor, and the Missouri haberdashery-man, President Harry Truman, and even the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, our late President, Ike, have blazed the way in regards to my simple proposition. Well, lest my elongated prelude becomes a premature denouement in thy minds, here is what I’m getting at: it is time for me to add the following to my regular daily wear.
What is it?
It is the Stetson Open Road 6X hat in Silverbelly (the color). This is not the materialistic object that it might appear to be.
I admit: This “thang” isn’t cheap. But does one quantify gratitude? This bad boy is top o’ the line all the way. The Open Road 6X dresses up. Then, down. No problems. The carefully crafted and consummately creased classic Silverbelly-beaver-pelt papa is as easy goin’ as a summer float trip on the Pee Dee River. It is a year-rounder alright (though I greatly value my Stetson straw summer fedora with the cool crimson and navy hatband; and have no plans to walk away from that summer standard, I’ll tell you that). But there comes a time when a mature man of mild manners and quiet disposition must step up and accept the mantle of descended responsibility. Unsteady in my ability to handle such honor, but (as has been said by someone, I forgot, now, who it was) “courageously willing to stand up and assume the sign of noble servitude” (I might have said that), I unflinchingly accept the challenge of a country gentleman of North Carolina lineage, to wear the mark of eldership. I do so with a humility borrowed from truly brave predecessors.
The Stetson Open Road 6X in stoic Silverbelly is not a cover for the carefree. It is, instead, a crown of palomino prestige awarded to the philosopher, the poet, and the old Colonel in repose.
But let me not focus on the material. For it is the nobility of the spirit that moves me.
Now. I have made my deposition in good faith. I do assure you it is a solemn statement and in no way a pathetic plea. Such groveling, should I or another stoop to such base demonstrations, is more akin to the yelping of a whipped pup than the untainted disclosure of “a kind-hearted, and reserved gentleman” (Again, I forget who flattered me with a generous description).
So, my Lady and my Lad, I leave the matter with thee, assured that the soft oscillations of the female heart and the filial faithfulness of a dutiful son, will give the small (but deep) matter due consideration, recalling the many sacrifices and (if I might add) selfless acts of unalloyed devotion of an older man of humble means and infrequent, reticent requests, such as my presentation more nearly reflects.
I am most confident that the equally gracious spirits of you both, united with your famously unrivaled traits of sympathy and imperturbability, will reach a wise and equanimous final disposition of this affair. Knowing of thy nature—and famous independence of mind, coupled perfectly, but quite rarely, with your unsurpassed compassion of heart—I know you will not be tainted by any perception of motivation of sordid self-interest in my part. Curse the thought.
Now, having discharged this obligation of the heart, and not expecting a reply or, especially, a granting of such an extravagant behest (give no thought to this posting of my request on the Internet), I return to my disciplined contentedness, my quiet contemplations of greater minds and more magnanimous spirits contained in those leather volumes aligned like columns of silent friends in my obscure and so-often solitary chamber, where modest proposals are infrequently composed, notwithstanding my low expectations of any new light in these shortening days.
So, dear Lady and devoted Son, I must return to the tedious travails that so often have supplied thy basic human needs, even at the cost of my own well-being—for whatever worth those years of labor to provide your wants and wishes (and food, shelter, and tiny daily acts of human warmth) may be. I assure you both that
I remain, now and always,
Your Most Obedient Servant,
The Old Colonel