In August of 2009 I was in St-Johns Newfoundland. 2009 was a tough year. We almost cancelled the 2009 CSCS conference in St-Johns. I insisted we march into the financial storm and carry on, to send a strong message that CSCS would not be deterred by mere financial chaos.
No good deed goes unpunished, so the universe sent hurricane Bill to cheer us up. Bwahhh hah hah! We laughed in the face of adversity!
When I saw a black baseball hat in the tower gift shop high atop Signal Hill I couldn't resist. It fit the bill perfectly. I wore it resolutely at the conference. Adorned with a menacing skull and crossbones it said "The beatings will continue, until morale improves".
Chuck saw it and flipped. Florida was still firmly in the death grip of the 2009 financial crisis. Chuck had to have the hat. I understood. I gave it to him without a moment's hesitation.
Chuck was so pleased, he enthusiastically led me to his closet where he had his considerable collection of baseball caps. For the most part, the collection was investment dealer and mutual fund swag, along with sports memorabilia. Chuck gave me the pick of his collection.
I went through the hats without much enthusiasm, until I found my dragon hat. I had to have it. It meant so much. My mother had given me many, many years before, a Chinese chop, my Chinese signature stamp, with my name in Chinese characters carved out of a solid block of jade. A beautifully carved dragon decorated the stamp. My mother explained to me that I was born in the year of the dragon.
This summer, three years later, my dragon hat has suffered from constant use. The black is sunwashed. The dragon is still boldly golden, but that won't last forever. Then again, neither will I.
A few weeks ago, on a whim, I searched for the website of the Matthews Funds. I used the 'contact us' page to ask for a new dragon hat as a hedge against future decay. I forgot about it. It was a message in a bottle.
Today, as we are deep in readiness preparations for our son Jonathan's wedding tomorrow, my son Andrew called out to me as I was wrapping up pool cleaning. "A package came for you!" he said, brandishing a square Fedex box.
I tore into the box eagerly. Leah's kind note fell into my hands.
And there they were!!!! I've got spares! An everyday, workin' around the house hat, a new goin' out on the town hat, and a dress hat!!!
To Leah Harold, Vice-President, U.S. Marketing, for Matthews International Capital Management LLC, thank you so very much, now you know how much it means to me. I will continue to wear the hats proudly.