Valley Journal
Valley Journal

A tale of two hats


I’m not Catholic, but I agree with the Pope when he said that what bothers him most are people with straitjacket points of view. Consider this: we took the only shady spot available for our picnic lunch at the Plains fair. When the lady across the table asked if I agreed with her husband’s red hat, I answered politely with two words. She informed me that I was not a “real” Montanan. When I didn’t react, she spat out, “It was a joke! Get over it!”

That’s interesting, I thought. Most of the real Montanans I know are warm and friendly. They have big, wide-open hearts like our big sky (when it’s blue), and open minds capable of critical thinking. Our friends, on both sides of the political aisle, love us regardless of our stance. But as we got up from the table, feeling unwelcome, the lady’s husband snorted in derision. The hate was palpable; the waspish sting remained all day.

Fast forward a week. Hungry after swimming laps in our beautiful Polson pool, we visited Taco Bell, where we met a big-hearted Montanan with a wonderful hat. “Do you have enough pins on your hat?” I teased. We joked and laughed our way through the order as he advised on the “how much” and “what kind.” Later, he bussed our table. “That was perfect!” I exclaimed. “How did you know?”

“I have a gift from God,” he grinned.

Indeed. He didn’t care if we’re Republican or Democrat. He didn’t care who we voted for; we were welcome at his table. He was not straitjacketed by hate. And his hat of kindness was the antidote that I needed.

Go meet him. He’s a real Montanan with a big heart and a great hat. His name is Comfort.

Nancy Teggeman


Lo 50°

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