Today’s Crux: A Cowboy Hat for Brother | Editorial

It was a long weekend full of blessings from Jarrell’s side.

From Thursday supper to Monday lunch, I drove to Colorado and back, climbed Pike’s Peak, “America’s mountain”, spent two days’ wages between an arcade and a Mediterranean snack bar, met an angel disguised as a madman, hugged and kissed everyone sorts of old buddies and relatives and most important of all, i saw my brother get married.

After this weekend, I have stories to tell.

And it’s time for a story. Thank you Lincoln County for indulging my lately philosophies, edifications, and more recently my complaints, but today I want to tell you about a cowboy hat.

The hat in question is a Cattlemen’s Crease Resistol in a dark coffee color, stiff with a narrow brim and a crown that hasn’t fit me since I was 13 years old. Decades ago it belonged to my grandfather, before being passed on to my dad. and finally, to me. The hat is of supreme quality and style, and is one of the best preserved heirlooms from the male side of my family.

The hat started out as a costume piece for my older brother and I to don as little kids when we wanted to play Clint Eastwood. Attempts were made to wear the mattress topper casually, but it was far too clunky headgear for kids as prone to hooliganizing as we were. Eventually it ended up in a box in my closet, a hidden piece of culture that happily chained me to the humble pride of my ancestry.

The Resistol was more than an emblem of pride; between my brother and me, it became a point of contention. He was the firstborn and the hat belonged to him by birthright. Also, I’m sure it was promised to him by the Powers That Be, but (as the Powers That Be had five more children to deal with) that promise fell through.

Somehow, through my own trickery, my parents’ forgetfulness, or a point of lost arbitration in my childhood story, Resistol was granted to me, despite the justified protests of my brother. He was despised, and selfishly, I didn’t mind; I had the hat. I played Jacob to his Esau.

What’s a dusty Resistol got to do with my weekend getaways?

This weekend was about winning a new family, but it was also about giving my brother. Mom and Dad gave it to the altar, which was in the pale front yard of my new uncle’s house in Colorado Springs. I gave my brother when I gave him the ring for his wife’s left hand at the preacher’s request.

Giving it away was easy. He chose a God-fearing woman with a good spirit for all kinds of things; I know he is in good hands.

I realized however, as I was packing for the wedding, that there was a point of contention between my brother and me. There in my closet, above the rental tuxedo I was to wear for the wedding, was a brown and white box with the word Resistol printed on it.

Suddenly, something that had been a source of great pride, something that I truly cherished, turned out to be a divider between my brother and me; I didn’t notice it until my brother was already about to leave.

Today’s crux, dear reader: The possessions and pleasures we cherish are not worth putting between us and the people we cherish.

Yes, it sounds like common knowledge, cheesy and cliché, but it’s true. What object or ideal, moment or memory do you have that separates you from the people you love? Bring them up in your head, think about their value, and let them go; they are not worth it. With all of our possessions, actions, or ideals, ask yourself, “Is this taking me away from someone I love?”

Circumstances have informed my way of thinking and time has given me the opportunity to grow, but we are not guaranteed either.

I gave her the Resistol as a wedding present. The hat is now with my brother, where it should have been years ago, and the empty space in my closet where another piece of family junk will soon be makes me smile in the morning.

I gave up a hat, but gained a better relationship with my brother; it is well worth a little sunshine in my eyes.

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