Editor’s Log: A Lucky Hat - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: A Lucky Hat

If you read my recent editor’s log titled “The Secret” from digital issue #6, then you may remember I mentioned that a few conversations I’ve had with readers at fishing shows have blossomed into longtime friendships. One of those longtime connections really went ‘above and beyond’ a few months back.

Back in 2013 I was still serving as the editor for Surfcaster’s Journal, and we were working the RISAA show when a subscriber stopped by to say ‘hello’ and to renew his subscription. In the process of doing that, we struck up a conversation and, before I knew it, we had been blabbing for more than 30 minutes. The conversation pin-balled all over the place and eventually we landed on what he did for work. At the time, he was – if my memory serves – the vice president of marketing for Converse, the shoe and clothing company. I told him that my wife was obsessed with Converse All-Stars, and had nearly every color at one time or another.

John told me that he’d love to send her a pair of shoes and would like to send one to me as well. Not wanting to ‘just take’ something I told him that I probably wouldn’t wear the shoes and suggested he should save the second freebie for someone else. Within a week a package showed at my door with a couple pairs of shoes for my wife and a couple Converse hats for me.

For whatever reason, one of those blue Converse hats became my regular fishing hat for the 2013 season and it proved to be one of the best surfcasting seasons of my life; it was my second most 40-pounders landed in one year and it seemed like I couldn’t go more than a week without hooking another good fish. From the Canal to the rocks of Rhody to the backwaters on Cape Cod, I could do no wrong when I wore that hat!

In the decade-plus since receiving that hat, a purchase of Converse shoes for my wife and daughter has become a holiday tradition facilitated by my friend. And when I ordered them matching turquoise All-Stars for Christmas this year, the package arrived on my doorstep, my wife saw it and knew who it was from, I still opened the box in secret (I could at least keep the color a surprise). In the box were the shoes but also one of those blue Converse hats. I laughed, thinking my friend was trying to force lightning strike twice by giving me a second lucky hat.

But after I lifted the shoes out of the box, I found a handwritten note inside suggesting that I was “Probably due for a new Converse hat”. The note went on to say:

“I remember you mentioning that your father really loved to watch you fish, even though he wasn’t a fisherman himself. By adding his initials to the hat, I was hoping that you could still bring your father along in spirit when you go on your fishing adventures. I hope this small gesture helps keep his memory alive for you, in a happy way.”

 

I was floored. I brought the hat into the kitchen where my wife was eating lunch and read her the note and showed his initials J.S.A., embroidered on the side. She immediately starting crying, with a mouthful of grilled cheese. “Don’t read that to me now!” she protested through the tears. This gift was more than just a ‘nice gesture’, it took research I don’t know how else he’d know my dad’s middle initial, and it took some really sincere forethought. John is one of those friends that I don’t see all that often, we probably talk 3-4 times per year, I could never have seen that coming. It truly was one of the most significant moments of healing I have experienced since losing my dad.

When I saw John a month later, he said “I don’t know if you’ll wear or keep it, but…” I stopped him mid-sentence, “Hell yes I’m going to wear it,” I insisted, “every time I fish this season, I’ll be wearing that hat!”

You can bet that I will keep that promise, and I already know, it’s going to be a lucky one. Thank you John!

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