I have written many books and still have many random thoughts and inklings I will be sharing here from time to time. I hope you are enjoying. Let me hear from you. Order a book or two.
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By Benjamin Raven Pressley
As I sat at the loom of my life, I dared to look deeply into the pattern woven before me, yet unfinished. Many were the different colored threads. Yet it was precisely their differences that worked together to make the pattern a work beautiful to look upon. I thought back and recalled that there were times, as they were woven, I could not see how they could fit into anything of rhyme or reason. As I looked, I beheld, because one thread is white it does not say, ‘Because I am not red, I am not a part of the pattern.’ Remove a single thread and the pattern is changed. The balance upset. The strength and power of the pattern weakened. One thread removed and what was once a thing beautiful to behold is now a thing that is in need. More threads removed and it is but a broken tangled net. Difficult the weaving is at times and it is not always the busiest shuttle or gaudiest color that makes the pattern lovely. The eye that is true and the hands that are faithful and skilled in diligence, these are the eyes that shall one day view the finished product of the hands. When it is finished, only then, will we view…Only then will we truly understand.
The White Hat
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
As was my daily custom I found myself crossing the street and entering the park where soon I would sit upon the same park bench that I had been sitting on for several months now. Many people recognized me and knew that like clockwork I would be entering through the same park gates and walking down the same trail as I always did. Single mothers and Dads playing with their children would wave at me like they knew me though we had never actually met. I would always wave back and smile though with my newspaper and current book I was reading underneath my arm. Children riding their bicycles on the trails always stopped and greeted me and I always had a sweet treat to give them and they knew it. It made them smile and also made me smile so it was a good arrangement. Soon I made my way over to ‘Coffee Karma’, a popular coffee cart there in the park, my usual stop and ordered my usual Americano with creamer. Each time I got coffee there I could not help but think and resent on some level having to call regular coffee ‘Americano’ just to get a straight cup of coffee without all the skinny latte double foo foo that didn’t even qualify as coffee in my book. Guess I’m just getting old and smiled as I envisioned an old curmudgeon with a cane saying ‘Back in my day…’ and to deep down realize that old curmudgeon was me.
At last I waded through all the fanfare and found my favorite park bench. It seemed to always be waiting just for me. It was like an old friend that was always there for me. I closed my eyes for a couple seconds as I always did and fidgeted about until I was seated just the way I liked. I swear that one spot seemed perfectly shaped to my backside even though it was a wooden bench. I laid my folded newspaper and book down beside me and looked across the trail from me to the same peaceful fountain surrounded by greenery and the colors of the flowers that grew that time of year. It was not huge but it was a sizable fountain large enough for a few ducks to call home. There were statues in the center of three lovely young ladies that appeared to be frolicking happily and posed as if throwing their pot of water on one another where the water spewed out onto each other as part of the waterworks. It always made me smile as I thought of how carefree they always were.
I soaked it all in as I sipped on my Americano, hmph, coffee. Soon I sat the coffee down on my right side of the park bench and reached for my newspaper and my eye caught a sight I had not noticed before sitting down. It was a beautiful white hat with a wide brim and a lacy scarf tied about the crown with delicate baby’s breath type flowers intertwined in the hat band they formed. The scarf was tied neatly in a knot and hung down in back. It was all in all a very elegant hat indeed. I laid my paper down and picked up the hat and examined it very curiously and wondered why I did not notice it before I sat down. It was an invader of my space and routine and was not supposed to be there yet for some reason I was intrigued. Had I fell into such a predictable routine that even a hat jolted me out of my mundane reality? I suppose it was true. I eventually reasoned that it must have been taken off while some lady sat there before I arrived and had forgotten it and put it back in its place thinking that perhaps she would be back to retrieve it. I took great care to lay it in place just so, brushing it off like it was a thing of honor, I am not sure why I cared or took such great care to lay it just so. It was odd for I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
I picked up my paper to read and found myself distracted as I kept looking back to it. Even as I turned the pages of my newspaper my eyes were drawn to pictures of models wearing hats and was amazed at how many times the word hat was used in many of the articles I read even in the use of words like ‘that’ and ‘chat’. How strange that my mind was thinking that way and obsessed with this hat that had came for a visit on my park bench or was it an invasion of my privacy.
I tried to ignore the hat and read the usual bad news in the newspaper and eventually picked up the book I was reading. I reached down for my coffee from time to time to take a sip but as usual waited so long between sips that it had grown cold, but I drank it anyway like I usually did. The daylight changed from bright to filtered through passing clouds and eventually I decided it was time to go home so I folded my newspaper and placed the book inside its folds and picked up my empty coffee cup that had drawn the interest of a fly. I stood up and walked over to the nearby trash can and threw away my empty coffee cup and stood there for a minute with my arms crossed and looking back at the hat still laying there upon the bench. I thought about taking it home so it would not get ruined in the elements overnight but decided not to in case the owner came back for it. So, I called it a day and walked back home leaving the hat behind reasoning that one way or another it would be gone the next day.
Well, I followed my usual routine at home making myself dinner, listening to some music and eventually calling it a night with a glass of my favorite wine. It was just me after all. I had a wife once but she died not many years after we had been married and I just could not love another so year after year had went by before I knew it and I had become an old man. We had no children and I had no close family so I guess I had just settled into this daily routine that was my life waiting for the day the reaper would come knocking for me. I didn’t mind really. I was a person who felt comfortable with a routine, maybe that is why that hat became such an odd obsession today. Well, no matter for it would surely be gone tomorrow and things would go back to normal. I smiled and laughed a little at how crazy I sounded to myself when I thought about it.
I decided to take out my old photo album and look through it. Many of the pictures were faded but still it held a special place in my heart. I smiled as I relived moments the old photographs reminded me of. I reached out and touched the images of loved ones who had passed and shed a tear. I relived moments with my dear wife, Isabel, as I looked upon images that were as fresh as yesterday in my mind. I thought about our wedding day as I came upon pictures of that day. It was not a big wedding, we never had much money and we had even less on our wedding day. It was an outdoor event in a beautiful public garden. There were only a few dear friends and family that attended. Even if there had been a million people there it did not matter to me or her for our hearts and eyes were only focused on each other. I turned page after page of photographs until I came upon a photograph of Isabel as she came down the aisle escorted by her father and I could not believe my eyes! She had on a hat and not just any hat, it was the hat that lay beside me on that park bench! I even got out a magnifying glass to examine the picture more closely and it was indeed the same hat or at least one exactly like it. I fell back in my chair when I realized it and then I remembered. She did have a hat on that day. It was a beautiful sunny day with a nice comfortable breeze blowing and then a huge gust of wind came along and blew the hat right off of her head! I remember because for a moment everyone’s attention was not on the wedding but this hat that flew up, up, up and out of sight never to be seen again. It was quite a sight at the time but it wasn’t like the hat was that expensive or anything and we didn’t really think any more about it. Until now.
I could hardly sleep that night thinking about it. The next morning, I quickly showered and went to the park earlier than usual hoping the hat was still there. I forgot my newspaper and book. I didn’t even stop for coffee. All I could think about was getting to my park bench and hoping the hat would somehow still be there miraculously. When I arrived, wonder of wonders, it was still there but it was in the hands of a little girl who had picked it up and was about to put it on till her mother nearby at the coffee cart getting coffee yelled at her to put that down, ‘you don’t know who might have had that on’, she warned. And as she laid it down I immediately snatched it up which startled the little girl and caused her to run crying to her mother.
I looked it over carefully. I smelled of it and closed my eyes. I was taken back in my mind’s eye to the day of our wedding. Could this truly be her hat? Impossible! That was many years ago. But the garden where we were wed was nearby. Could this hat have been lodged in some tree all this time and by chance landed here on the very bench I sat on every day? My mind reeled with the possibilities and I grasped it in my hands and looked up to the sky and whispered a ‘thank-you’.
That day I had no thought of books, newspapers or coffee I just sat there grasping this hat and occasionally laughing and occasionally smiling, my mind flooded with thoughts of all the good times we had together and a love that could never be repeated or replaced by another.
Then the little girl I had frightened so pointed to me sitting on the bench and said ‘Mommy, that man doesn’t look too well’. Her mother prepared to respond in annoyance at the little girl tugging on her skirt turned and looked in my direction and screamed and said ‘Somebody dial 911!’. Somehow, I was viewing all this outside of myself, outside of my body collapsed on the park bench. Others were gathering trying to help. A police officer nearby responded and with the help of another man laid my body on the ground and attempted first aid. I was viewing all this kind of confused for how could I be standing here observing myself there?
Then I felt a gentle touch on my arm and looked into the face of an angel. It was Isabella! How could this be? She then spoke and said, ‘I see you found my hat, darling’ and I looked at her very confused but also very excited to see her once again. She put the hat upon her head wearing it just the way I remembered. She then spoke gently again and said ‘Are you ready to go my love? They are waiting for us.’ And off we walked down the path and through a nearby garden which was kind of like the one we were married in but so much more beautiful. Flower petals filled the air as a nearby breeze blew and on we walked and walked. I looked at her and she was as young as I had remembered her and beautiful as ever. Then I looked at my own skin and touched my own face and realized that I too was young again. Happiness surged through me like new life and I grabbed her and embraced her tightly and kissed her lips. It was true! We were together again. Then a gust of wind blew as we embraced and snatched that hat right off of her head and blew way to where we do not know and we both just laughed and walked away together never to be apart again.