there's something so very special about my dad's stocking hat. maybe it's that he's had it since before he was twenty, and he still wears it. he's worn it hiking though the woods with his buddies as an unruly youngster, scruffy and untamed, drinking rainier with curly black hair sticking out from the edges of that hat in faded photographs. and then he's worn it teaching his little ones to ride bike in the cozy roundabouts of my childhood. he's never outgrown it, that hat. he's worn it walking every dog he's owned on rainy windy northwest days as a grown man, through every neighborhood he's ever lived in. as long as i've known my dad, which is forever, he's had that hat. both my brother and i have stolen it on several occasions, we covet that hat, but magically it's made it's way back to him. it is quintessentially him, every little piece of my dad is that hat, the party animal and the lover of the outdoors and the handyman and the father and the son he is. it has become a trademark, a legacy, precious. how wonderful that he's kept it around for so long.