A Beautiful Woman and Her Hat
As a little girl, I loved dressing up with one of Mama’s pretty dresses, wearing her “pop beads” and a big, floppy hat while hobbling down the hallway in her high heels. Imagining myself to be very beautiful, I would pretend to be a princess. Early on, lots of little girls dream of being gorgeous and making a difference in this world. Then over the course of time, people begin to make sure you know that you are only or less than ordinary, say hurtful things to you and one day you realize you’ve lost that dream.
The big fitted hats were always my favorite; perhaps because by the back door, Mama always kept her gardening shoes, gloves and her big floppy hat handy. She would adorn herself with these tools whenever she worked in the garden. Her hat had a big, cream-colored sash that slid through the top of the hat to keep it on her head and she tied it under her chin in a big bow. Mama had lovely, big brown eyes that always seem to know what I was up to. Whether it’s an elegant tiara, fancy headdress, a red velvet vintage hat or stylish beret, we feel acutely feminine with a striking covering over our heads.
As I reflect on the beautiful women that I’ve seen in hats during my lifetime, I first think of Diana, Princess of Wales, or Princess Diana. She had a hat for every outfit and she wore them with such grace! Her beauty and style captured our hearts and kept us mesmerized whenever she was on TV or in the news. Her beauty was more than skin deep, however. She had a strength that folks everywhere respected, a strength demonstrated by her love and compassion for the needy, underprivileged, injured or those suffering from Aids. It’s no wonder we admired her. She was a real-life princess making a difference for so many in this world!
I had a personal encounter with another beautiful lady and I never even asked her name! It was a Sunday afternoon and had been “one of those days!” Mama was dying of lupus and had been in ICU in Temple, Texas for almost 30 days. I lived and worked in San Antonio, Texas, but on the weekends I would “commute” back and forth to Temple to sit with her or take care of her house, when I wasn’t working. This particular Sunday afternoon, I was on my way back to San Antonio. I stopped at a little town near interstate 35 called Buffett, Texas. There was a local Dairy Queen with clean restrooms and easy access (on and off the road). I parked the car and made a bee-line for the ladies room.
Failing to notice the large yellow bus outside, I was quite agitated to see a LONG line of African-American ladies, all beautifully dressed in their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes including the most stylish hats I had ever seen up close! I was dressed in jeans, a sloppy shirt and was extremely tired and grumpy. As the line edged closer to the restroom, I began to see water all over the floor. The closer we got, the deeper the water was. I was beside myself! I uttered, “I’m going to get my pants legs soaked!” angrily. Before I knew what happened, this strikingly attractive African-American lady bent down, folded the bottom of my pants leg over and rolled it up. Both of them! She rose, smiled and gave me a little pat on the shoulders as if to say, “You’ll be OK now?”
After finishing my “business” inside the Dairy Queen, I got back in my vehicle and reflected upon what had just happened – most of the way back home to San Antonio. This lady had treated me with such undeserved grace; it felt like I had just been with Jesus. Beauty is so much more than what we wear. It’s what we do and how we do it. Mama always said, “Pretty is as pretty does.” Wow! Did I ever have an object lesson that Sunday afternoon in Buffett, Texas? Dress up! Go ahead and wear a hat today! Add a smile! Go make a difference in someone’s life today with a little kindness! Be that princess you always dreamed of being – TODAY!