Loosing the head of your ax? I can understand that. I can’t find mine since my GRANDsons were here. You would think that if a feller was going to loose something it would be as small as an ax head or something small enough to slip thru the cracks, or under the chair or in some tall grass.
But a cowboy hat? I mean a full size cowboy’s Bailey Supreme, 4X beaver, with Cattleman’s crown with colorful feathers in the fancy hat band! And a cowboy hat is not something you loose without knowing it immediately. I mean, you don’t discover a week later that it is missing like you would if it were a ballpoint pen, or a book. As soon as you open the door to the freezing wind, blowing in across the prairies and hits your bald head, you immediately know something is not there that should be. And my dome doesn’t have enough hair even around the sides to protect it from the slightest cool breeze. I knew it was going to be a long walk across campus from the Tabernacle to my guest room!
It was mid-December and I had just spoken to the entire student body of about 1,000 young folks at of the Prairie Bible Institute in their weekly Friday night meeting. It was the last stop on my annual winter tour thru the Bible schools of Alberta and British Columbia… always one of the highlights of my year. Especially when I could meet Peter Enns and we would travel together.
When the meeting was over I always had a good time chatting with students as we made our way out of the big chapel to the foyer and the coat and hat racks. Every student there had a big heavy coat and warm hat and there were always a pile of snow boots lined under the outer garments as well. There’s nothing between Three Hills, Alberta and the north pole but a barbed wire fence and if you don’t have some pretty heavy clothing, you be wishing you had chosen a Bible College in Florida! So there is always a premium on coat hooks and always several that get left behind over the semester. I’d gotten there early enough to hang my coat and hat on the same hook… one of the very few western hats there.
But when the meeting was over, I realized my hat was nowhere in sight. My first thought was that some of the boys had hidden it to tease me. With the help of several students, we checked the coat hooks in all three of the hallways outside the chapel, and under all the pews on the back rows and every hiding place we could imagine.
Maybe they took it back to our room? Or we’d stop by the coffee shop and someone would come along and admit the ruse. But even when we loaded up to go for breakfast the next morning, there was still no hat.
We had a standing Saturday morning breakfast with Brian Bates the Greek Professor before heading for home. When I came in the cafe with the ridiculous looking, blaze orange stocking cap Brian got his laugh of the week! He knew something was up. When I told him what had happened to my cowboy hat, he laughed again. “Welcome to the club, Mate. I lost a nice coat from there the same way.” Seems they had problems in the past with some of the local hoodlums coming in during services and stealing hats, coats, boots and other outerwear.
Well, Brian must have passed the word on and about 2 weeks later I got a check for 109 U S dollars and some odd cents. Seems that the student body had taken up a collection and sent me enough to buy a brand new cowboy hat! And you can bet that every time someone commented on my nice new hat, I told them about the generosity of some of God’s choicest young folks who studied at Prairie Bible Institute.
The same God Who made the ax head swim for Elisha’s young friend did even better by me. He just got his old ax returned. God gave me a brand new hat!