The Mad Hatter

Bill has a favorite cap.  It’s the one he got for free from the American Home Brewer’s Association at least a decade ago when he was actively – and vigorously – making his own beer.  The beer was excellent; he made a Saison to die for and his Wheat could have won awards.  But he had to stop when gout, which is triggered by beer, became an issue.  Fortunately, rum and Coke don’t seem to cause this problem.

Anyway, Bill always wear this hat to the pool.  He straps it to the back of his chair while we’re in the water and usually puts it on once we’re back on our lounge chairs.  The day before yesterday he forgot and left the hat hooked onto the back of the chair when we left.  We weren’t too concerned, however; after all, this is Sun City and we just knew some kindly retiree would turn it into lost and found and we could pick it up the next time we went to the rec center – which it turns out was yesterday.

We explained to the receptionist what had happened and she directed us to the lost and found, which turned out to be a cardboard box in the corner of the workout room.  There were several towels, a couple pairs of sun glasses, a set of faded blue plastic hair rollers, and an empty plastic container that was shaped to hold a set of dentures.  How do I know this?  Because the faded print on the top of the flesh-colored box said ‘Chopper Hopper.’

Our faith in senior citizenship fading, we made our way to the far end of the pool where the lounge chairs we’d used were sitting unoccupied.  Before we could get all the way to the back, Sylva (see “The Bobbers” post dated 6/24 ) came rushing out from her smoking corner, waving at us.

“Ha Lo, Ha Lo,” she called to us.  “I knew you vud be back.  Look vat I haf for you.” she sang, reaching into her enormous beach tote and bringing out Bill’s hat, which she proceeded to wave over her head.

“Some old fart vas trying taking it, but I stopped him!  He vas going to vear it right outta here,” she continued.  “But I stepped into his face and said ‘STOP!  Dat is not yours.  Give it to me.’  And I took it from him, like DAT,” she said whipping it in front of Bill’s face and snapping the fingers of her free hand.

“Sylva, thank you so much,” Bill said, smiling broadly. He tried to reach out for the hat, but Sylva is a good head taller than both Bill and me, so we knew that, until she’d finished her story and lowered her arm, the hat was out of reach.

“He vas no regular, he vas a stinkin’ Snow Bird, I bet.  When I yelled STOP he got red and then I said ‘dat hat is NOT yours, gimme it’ he handed it over quick an skunked away.”

“Thanks, so much,” Bill said, reach tentatively for the hat.

“Vat else is dare to do!  You’re a Bobber.  You’re one of us.  We take care of each other.  Right?”

“Right, Sylva,” Bill replied, reaching out further for the cap.  “And thanks again, so much.”

“You betcha sweetie,” she said, finally handing it to Bill.  As he reach to take it from her, she grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him in for a hug, giving me a wink over the top of his head.  I smiled back at her and hoped she’d release Bill soon – I don’t think he was getting much air buried in between Sylva’s ample boobs.


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