Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Pheasant Hat

On a breezy Sunday afternoon I drove toward the foothills with Pheasant feathers on my head, and hoped nobody would see me. This situation stemmed from a young woman climbing into a young man's wagon on a cold snowy day over sixty years ago.

In the early 1940's my mother-in-law taught school in a one room school house near Swedeburg, Nebraska. It was her first teaching job, and she was living away from home, boarding with a family who lived out in the countryside. She walked to school every day, and on one particularly cold day as she trudged to school through the snow, a wagon with a team of horses rattled up beside her.

"Would you like a ride?"

She looked up and saw a young man. He looked safe enough, especially with his shy smile and big ears.

"Oh, thank you." She held up her hand.

The wind whipped his blond hair as he reached down to help her up. Donald was a Swedish boy, born on a farm nearby. He had been born in the same bedroom as his father before him. His grandfather had homesteaded land.

When they arrived at the schoolhouse, he helped Katherine with some of her preliminary teaching duties like gathering wood for the stove.

The next morning, as Katherine plodded along the road to school, the wagon pulled up again.

"Would you like a ride?"

Well this went on for days. Until, one day, she heard the beautiful words.

"Will you marry me?"

Now, what does this have to do with a Pheasant hat? Well farm boys like to hunt. And Katherine had always wanted a fashionable Pheasant hat. They were newlyweds, now, and didn't have much money. They eventually moved in with Donald's parents on the farm to help take care of his ailing mother. But back to the hat. It was an extravegance that was not affordable. So Donald did the next best thing.

He and his dad went hunting and shot themselves a Pheasant. Then they crafted it into fancy hat for Katherine. She loved it! (and we take a moment to remember this special pheasant who brought such joy.)

(It has much more style than the picture displays.)

I wore the hat to my friend's Mad Hatter Tea Party a couple of Sundays ago.

Here you see several ladies taking a break from their busy lives to let their hair down, or I should say to put their hats on to relax, play games, and be a little crazy.

We had a lovely time.


Glenda said...

I love this story - and I love hats! Wish we still wore them to church on Sundays occasionally.

Willow said...

Wonderful story :)

Dawn said...

Was this your ancestors - what a great story. We had a tea where we all wore hats a couple of years ago. I love them, and wore them to church when I was young. We have a couple of ladies who still do in our church.

It's lovely that the hat is still with you.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your pheasant hat story! I especially loved the pictures of your in-laws!