“Did you get my bonnet?’ Grandma asked. I assured her I did. “Do you wear it?” she continued.
“Now what do I say,” I think to myself.
“Why no, Grandma, I put it on the wall for decoration. It fits in my room that I have decorated with my old- time keepsakes.”
“Well you need to wear it when you go in the sun,” she insisted.
I filed her advice right along with her dire predictions about how I was going to ruin my electric skillet if I washed it in the dishwater. I respected her diligence in cleaning and scrubbing the big old pots and pans she used to cook for fifty to eighty “broom corn Johnnies” as we called the transient workers who came to harvest the fall crops. An electric skillet was not in her expertise.
And the bonnet was quite appropriate for her to wear in her garden on the farm. But me? A city girl. A educated woman with a career. Me? I had a choice about the amount of time I spent in the sun. And my choice was to not do so! Besides I looked so funny in that bonnet.
I have not worn the bonnet. I left it on the wall for many years. It is now in my trunk of memories. When I wrote Granddad’s Tears I show her wearing her bonnet. And it makes me see a side of my grandma I never knew existed. She was creative; she was an artist in a very special way!
Look this bonnet over well. Because you have probably never seen one like it. I have searched online with google and Pinterest but cannot find one. If per chance you find one, ask if it was made by an old woman in Baca County, Colorado. It probably was. My aunt, her daughter, said she believed Grandma made up the idea of using that broom corn straw to provide the stiffness necessary for this type sun bonnet. Not many new ideas under the sun but it seems like my grandma had one.
Mine does not have a label in it, but I think somebody in the family got labels for her to put in some. I’m not sure.