Daddy was a Nebraska farmer. I guess that makes me the farmer's daughter. Daddy always wore a hat - whether he was going to do chores, or going into town, or going to church.But it was not just any hat. It was a Stetson. And he wore it with that special swagger earned by hard working cowboys. Every so often, he announced his Stetson would have "seen better days." What did that mean? It meant that one Saturday very soon - Daddy would take me to the sale barn tack room, he would pick a new hat, and the well worn retired Stetson would be mine. The summer of 2003, We flew to Nebraska for a family visit. Weak as he was, Daddy met us at the airport. I was not going to go "unmet." He wanted to be the first one to say, "Welcome home, Little-ly." Daddy and I spent afternoons on the back deck in silent appreciation of the hot Nebraska wind, we admired his weedless garden, and occasionally we wondered about corn prices. In the mornings, he got up extra early to make coffee so he could greet me with a steamy cupful as soon as I ventured out to the kitchen. It was a sweet, sweet time. Alas, the time went too quickly and we found ourselves on the last day staring at each other, tears welling up in our eyes. And then it happened. But this time, there would be no trip to the sale barn. Daddy had given his hat a Saturday night - get ready for church brushing and he and the hat were waiting for me as I made my way down the stairs with my luggage. Daddy was insistent that I take his hat with me back to South Carolina. I didn't want to take it from him - but I couldn't bear the look in his eyes when I said, "I'll get it next time I come." I took the big stetson box from his work worn hands - and held it on my lap to the airport, carried it through airport security, found a safe place for it in the overhead bin. At home, I cleared a space on the top shelf of my closet for safe keeping. Two months later, my sister called to tell me Daddy had died. It was October 31, 2003. Thank you, Daddy, for my hat. I will take good care of it. And I will cherish it always. Rest in peace. I will see you in the morning.