The Purple Hat Story (warning – this story has no moral – you can thank me later)

For our 20th anniversary, my husband gave me the purple hat I had been ogling from a local hat store where we lived in Durham, England. I was over the moon. Finally! I could be ‘British’ and wear a hat to a special occasion. So the first chance to wear it finally came when we were invited to the christening of a friend’s child for whom my husband would stand as godfather. The weather was perfect for it, so I pulled out my dark purple pantsuit, purple shoes and, of course, the purple hat! It was not the first time – nor the last – that I have looked like I fell into and swam heartily in a vat of purple paint!

We filed into our place in the pews and the service began. First, I looked around and noticed that I was the only one wearing a hat. I suddenly had the queasy feeling that I was being the typical ‘American trying to out-British the British’. (It is not to be done – rest assured!) But that wasn’t the worst of it. The scripture reading was the story of the ‘rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day…’ I wanted to slide under the pew in front – you know slowly sinking down, but there was no hiding my purple hat and body and arms and legs. So I sat there quietly trying hard not to turn red in the face, which probably made it look purple too now that I think about it. I consoled myself with the thought that everything I was wearing – except for the cute purple shoes – were a present to me from someone else! The only piece of my external clothing that I actually purchased for myself were the shoes. The hat was from my husband, and the suit from my mother-in-law. (She made me work for it too. I was trapped for 3 hours in a dressing room trying on outfits she brought to me until we found the magical purple suit. That was totally worth it!)

I survived the service – just. Internally I was a bit tattered, but externally looked just fine. Ha! I had become British, stiff upper lip and all. Keep calm and carry on – in purple!

A gift for you – here’s a picture of the cute purple shoes (because I know you are curious)



About Lois Loban Stuckenbruck

Trained as a Ballerina, then completed a BA in Business Adm and English Literature at Milligan College. More recently trained to be a lay pastor (Reader) in the Church of England. Wife of a Biblical Scholar, Mother of three. I'm an American who has also lived many years in England and Germany (currently Munich). I have worked as an Editorial Assistant, Systems Manager (Xerox Stars on Ethernet Network), and several positions in higher education fundraising (Alumni and Development).
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