Billy the Hat’s hat

Most every day an alarm goes off and I get up, stumbling into the bathroom, etc and then fix myself a breakfast. I like to make a cheese omelet, English muffin with margarine and honey and a big cup of orange juice.  I read some daily meditations, one from Our Daily Bread and the other one from Twenty Four Hours a Day.  On some days I may read from a one year Bible. 

I have already stumbled over to the computer and turned it on to check the temperature,  I can do that with a thermometer outside the kitchen window, but I like to see what they are predicting as weather.  It is generally the same as what the  radio announcer has done the night before.  I finish breakfast, take my vitamins, brush my teeth, and then take short little nap while planning my day while sucking on a B12 tablet.  It is then laying out my clothes, and everything so I don’t forget to take them with me and go jump into the shower for my morning ablutions. 

After dressing, I have just enough time to pack a slice of cheese and bottle of water into my book bag that carry with me on the bus.  I wait a few minutes, thinking about what the day will be like and who I might see on the bus or the meeting where I am heading.  My alarm goes off and I head out…putting on my Hat.

After short little wait, I jump on the northbound bus that at this time is the Sarasota County Area Transit Bus.  In a half hour a Manatee County Area Transit will appear at the same stop…I say hi to some people and some I chit chat with, finally getting off at the Courthouse which is another Transit point. 

The entire time I have been wearing one of those fisherman hat’s, the type keep the rain and sun off of your head.  All around the brim it has places that one could put bait, hooks and anything.

Sometimes, I wear it up with the neckpiece over the top.  They were used in Southeast Asia in a green camouflage color, the color I grew up with all of my life, since my father was in the Army.

The first time I saw one of these hats, it was a beige colored hat and it costs $7.00 at a 7-11 store.  I could not pass it up.  When it wore out, I decided to replace it and bought another one like and a green one…

I wear the green now almost all the time…I found a Angel on ground decided to make that my insignia.  So I now have an gold Angel on the front of my hat.

This morning as I boarded my 3 West bus, the driver asked my out of the blue, what kind of hat is that?  I was taken totally off guard.  Another man, said a fisherman’s hat.

I did not know what to say.  As I rode to my meeting this is what I wanted to say:

It is the kind of hat that is covered in the blood of a comrade dying in your arms.  It is the kind of hat that a hero of mine died wearing as he tried to tell someone how the CIA was running drugs out of his area.  Shortly after, it’s the kind of hat that the VC operative was wearing, when he came in with a grenade, and I took my .45 and practically blew his head off.  It was the kind of hat that I was wearing that shortly thereafter I could not talk and I was taken back home by the NSA and my drinking increased.  I stopped wearing that kind of hat shortly thereafter when I was taken out of the bush.

But, as I stopped drinking, the memories came back.  I have had to deal with them, tears, gut wrenching feelings, and all.  I wear the hat now as a memorial to all those who have served in combat and survived.  I wear the hat as a memorial to all those who have survived alcohol and drug addiction…Mostly I wear the hat to keep the sun off my head and the rain out of my face. Billy the Hat

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