OPINION COLUMNS

Boots and hats

By Gerre Joiner | Published Wednesday, September 3, 2014
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We helped our daughter move from Waco to Lewisville this weekend. It was the perfect move. They brought most of their clothes to our house several days ago. We loaded the clothes yesterday and met the family … and their U-Haul truck … at their new place in Lewisville.

Kind of made me think of some of the treasures I have stored in my closet:

  • I have a pair of Tony Lama boots that I’ve had since my dad’s death in 1979. I wasn’t ambitious about having them. They didn’t fit any of the men in the family except me. They fit me perfectly. I don’t wear them often. Afraid I’ll wear ’em out.
  • I have a few of my dad’s felt hats … good hats. One of them looks just like the one worn by Jim Leavelle, the man who was escorting Lee Harvey Oswald the day he was shot in the basement of the Dallas Police headquarters.

I wore the “Leavelle” hat to the coffee shop one morning. My friend, retired Texas Ranger Phil Ryan, noticed the hat and said, “That hat looks like it came from Brokeback Mountain.”

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

The hats made me think of a wonderful song that was written and performed by Chet Atkins. The title is, “I Still Can’t Say Goodbye.”

It’s crafted in two scenes. The first scene recalls little boy Chet, climbing up to the top shelf of his daddy’s closet and trying on one of his father’s hats. “… I’d fix the brim. Pretending I was him.”

The other verse tells of adult Chet walking by a Salvation Army store, seeing a hat like his daddy wore, trying it on and fixing the brim. Still “… tryin’ to be just like him.”

Not long ago my son-in-law, Clint Hammer, was here at the house. He mentioned that he liked a pair of boots I had recently bought. I had a thought. I asked, “What size boot do you wear?” He told me. I went to the closet and brought him a pair of boots I had acquired after my brother’s death in 1997.

They didn’t fit me. They didn’t fit any of the men in the family. They fit Clint perfectly, and he wears them almost daily.

I’m not much for telling someone what to do with their treasures, but I’ll tell you that I can’t remember giving something away that gave me more joy than giving Clint those boots.

  • They weren’t my boots. They belonged to someone I loved dearly.
  • They were just entrusted to me until I located someone who could enjoy them.

My suggestion to you is this: Give your treasures to someone who knows what to do with them. Give them to someone who will treasure them because you treasure them.

I’m still looking for someone who can use my daddy’s “Brokeback Mountain” hat.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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