After the helicopter crash I strove to get to him in time but not hard enough. Our progress was halted for hours on the bayou highway between Lake Charles and Baton Rouge by a jack-knifed produce truck. Seemingly no injuries besides the greens while in Alabama my father lay prone in the ICU, bandaged skull, sometimes blood seeping from the gauze dressing.
I never saw him like this. By the time we got there he had moved on to the next thing, loosing the coils of mortality and shaking off any talk of rehabilitation.
The undertaker told us that if we wanted to see him again in any respectable fashion (my words, not his) a hat would be required. So we spent most of a day darting in and out of haberdasheries looking for cowboy hats. He was a cowboy: he deserved a cowboy hat.
But the trick was size-the lingering signs of his fatal fall meant his head was swollen, maybe even still haloed in gauze? It had to be a proper 10 gallon, XL…I had begun to think I would fail him in this final quixotic endeavor when we found an eclectic store that had beach t’s, jeans, souvenirs, and…cowboy hats.
It was cream colored, the largest size. They cut it in half so that it appeared to recede effortlessly nto the pillow.