(I have been careless in posting for a long time but could not wait a minute to share this letter with fans. –Lynn)
One year, I was given this turtle hat as a gag gift at a family party. I thought it was cool looking, but never thought that it was something amazing. Turns out I was completely dead wrong. Everyone that sees the hat says that they love it. Complete strangers make a point to come up to me and compliment the turtle hat. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have taken pictures with me while I wore it. My two children jokingly like to fight each other over who will inherit it and carry on the tradition.
One time when I was wearing it at Mardi Gras, this young man was walking up the street with his wife and children. The kids noticed the hat first and kept pointing to it and trying to get their Dad’s attention. I was accustomed to this type of reaction, so I didn’t think much of it. But then the wife spotted it and made sure that the man saw it also. He then came running up to me and said “wait here, I’ll be right back in a minute”. He sprinted back down the street, got something out of his car and when he returned, he had the same turtle hat, lovingly cradled in his hands. He explained that he had inherited it from his father and that he had never seen anyone else with one. It was torn and tattered, but you could easily tell it meant the world to him. He said it was in too bad of shape to wear, but that he brought it to every Mardi Gras so that the memory of his father could still enjoy the parades.
Every person who sees the hat wants to know where they can get one of their own, so that they too can be part of the turtle nation. There wasn’t an identifying tag in it so I have no idea who made it. I scoured the internet, but was unable to find another one. I have had that hat for over 30 years, so to make sure and preserve it, I only wear it to special events like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.
A few days ago I went out to the beach with my family and friends. I was busy getting my chair perfectly positioned at the edge of the surf to enjoy looking out at the Gulf of Mexico. After sitting down, I noticed my daughter standing in the water in front of me and she was wearing my precious turtle hat. This got me a bit angry, as she had the gall to take it without even asking me for permission first. As I disapprovingly wagged my finger at her, she just grinned and directed my gaze to the others that were standing next to her. To my utmost surprise, they were all wearing a turtle hat. This really discombobulated my thought process and I was stunned beyond words. All I could do was point my finger at them and stare in disbelief. My daughter explained that while traveling recently, my son came upon a guy in a bar wearing the same exact turtle hat. Turns out there was another man with a story just like mine. When he couldn’t find a new hat to replace his old one, he took the initiative to get one made and started selling them. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to know that the turtle nation will live on for generations to come!
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