HAT NUMBER TWO
A midget hockey team is on the road home after a tough playoff loss. It’s already a late night and tomorrow’s responsibilities will come early. The bus rolls into the hometown and pulls up to the rink. The team manager is the last off the bus as he cleans up the remaining bits of garbage left by the boys. He says a brief thank you to the bus driver and heads into the empty dressing room where he unloads the jerseys and water bottles – hanging each jersey as though it were a regal garment. He shuts off the lights and heads home. Crawling into bed, he thinks to himself, “The morning is coming too soon.” He closes his eyes for what seems like just a few minutes. All too soon the shrill shriek of the emergency fire phone awakens him, and he bolts out the door. The bitter January cold hits his face. Hat ‘Number Two’ cradles his head as he climbs into the fire truck. They must protect this farm. “We’ve got this, boys,” he cries out and he was right—the farmyard was saved. Another building is preserved by the local volunteer fire department. Time to pack up and go home.
But home suddenly became a different place for the man who wore many hats in his life, his home, and his community. As it would turn out, Hat ‘Number Two’ would forever be retired that night.
Ten years have passed and a midget hockey team in that same prairie town is finishing a hard practice. Coach calls the boys to center ice and hands an old, ratty fire helmet to a young, red-faced hockey player. “This helmet may look old and battered to you, but it means so much more. It symbolizes a life of teamwork, service and faith. The man who wore this helmet dedicated his life to helping and serving others. Our team is not only about scoring goals and winning games but becoming young men of character – demonstrated through teamwork, service and faith.” The coach looks down at the player now holding the helmet. “You displayed this before us today.” From that point on, after each practice, the players selected a teammate who best represented all that the helmet symbolized- the characteristics, values and qualities of the man who wore Hat ‘Number Two’.
Written by Karlene Benallick
Daughter to Royden Taylor
June 28, 2018
Acrylic on Canvas 2018
Canvas size H 30″ x D 20″
Commissioned by Prairie Hockey Academy, Moose Jaw