Does anyone remember this picture book? You may not be able to read that it is by Stan and Jan Berenstain. It was first published in 1973. The male character is desperately trying to choose a new hat; as the story reaches its climax it goes . . .
'Too twisty. Too twirly.
Too wrinkly. Too curly.
Too holey. Too patchy.
Too feathery. Too scratchy.
Too crooked. Too straight.
Too pointed . . .
I remember reading it to my children, their eyes wide as the tension mounted and they were listening to hear the word 'wait'. You can probably guess what happens in the end; the old hat is retrieved, which is 'Just right, just right, just right'.
I have the same dilemma. There's another wedding about to happen in the family and my sister (mother-of-the-bridegroom) has said, 'I don't mind you wearing a hat, but perhaps not quite such a large one!" So my old hat is no good. I am now hunting in a world full of fascinators. I was the only one in a hat of any size last time, but there were plenty of pretenders. Heads were adorned by crazily perched shrunken versions of the real thing. All closely resembling something you'd find as a table decoration or in the shower. I can't make myself wear one of those!
It has occurred to me that maybe my organza extravaganza is no better than the bargain hats I've managed to track down, but rejected. But this is the one that makes me feel dressed up. I am familiar with its floating whiteness. It doesn't fall off my head. It has come out several times and is usually admired.
But, my reluctance to try a new one has set me a challenge.
Here it is - quite a few questions in fact, so here goes: How do I live my life? Am I sometimes too feathery with people - soft when I need to be more firm? Or do my words come across as scratchy or maybe too straight? Scratchy, maybe, especially with my closest ones. But straight? Can that ever be a fault? Maybe it's only wrong if it goes with 'pointed'. If I am true, honest, upright in my life, that's good, but only if done with an attitude of love. Without that, all is lost. I've missed out 'holey' and 'patchy'. Mmm - I'm not sure about those, do people see through me? Am I consistent in my words and actions? I try to be. But while I'm thinking about holes, do I always fill the God-shaped hole within me with what it should be filled with? Or do I sometimes look for other things to fulfil my spiritual needs? I pray that I never will.
But that's enough blogging - I have a hat to buy - quite firm, a little feathery, straight but softened with a generous amount of love.
Certainly not this little 'fascinator' then . . .
Annie Try is the pen-name of Angela Hobday, ACW Vice-Chair. She lives in Norfolk in a house that is many miles from any hat-shops and spends part of her time as a child psychologist. She is on her Church leadership team, dances, plays the cello and spends time with her vast family. Plus she loves writing, of course. She is author of 'Losing Face' published by Roundfire Books and her next YA novel, 'The Crazy Dance of Emma J' is being considered by a publisher.