“And are the ladies looking for hats for any special occasion,” simpered the very eager and very British young salesclerk. Sales on the High Street are very slow and the sight of Peg, Anna and Gillian with Jim and I in tow had her hopes up for big sales.
“Well actually its for a funeral” I replied trying not to burst into laughter as Gillian modeled a flippy feathery number.
Poor girl – she was totally nonplussed but then she didn’t know Deb. She couldn’t imagine the half-smile and those eyes crinkling that we all could see as hats were tried on and comments made. She couldn’t understand that what we were doing reached back to salacious lunch hour conversations, raucous restaurant banter, deep late night talks about everything that touched our lives or quiet chats on a London bound train where prognosis were revealed and talked about. But hopefully she could see the incredible love and heartbreak that was in our laughter. Deb wanted the ladies to wear hats at her funeral and damn it our ladies were going to wear hats. And if those hats were a bit flippy, a bit feathery, so much the better.
Peg thought something in a broad brim with a slightly My Fair Lady Ascot flair would work but finally settled on a smart little feathered pill box reminiscent of a 50s night club cigarette girl.
Gillian modeled several smart numbers gallantly proffered by Jim and I wanted her to get the feathery one that made her look like she was appearing in Swan Lake at the Theatre Royal. But she decided an old faithful that she had brought with her from Montreal would be just fine.
Anna tried on something broad brimmed and then a puffy gray pill box – for some reason puffy little hats on headbands are all the rage in England these days. She left the store sporting a straw saucer with a whiff of black feathers.
Slightly saucy, maybe even a bit silly our Deb would have loved them. And knowing she had taken us shopping one more time would have pleased her no end.
15 aprile – San Telmo