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Mrs.murphy's Hat

Mrs.murphy's Hat

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Published by Sandy Sessler

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Published by: Sandy Sessler on Jun 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/11/2010

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 MRS. MURPHY’S HATBySandy Sessler Evelyn Murphy lived in Springfield her entire life. Born there, married there, widowedthere. And unless some miraculous event or alien invasion whisked her away, she woulddie there.Evelyn was just part of the fabric of the town. Everyone knew her old, worn brown-checkered coat with its frayed cuffs and matching brown hat with black fake-fur trim.Even if you couldn’t see her face, you’d know it was Evelyn toddling down Main St. bythe bulk of that awful, out-dated, old coat. Of course, she’d never part with it. Henry hadgiven her that coat over 30 years before on Christmas Eve, so she could wear it to churchon that particularly bitter-cold night. She beamed with love as she slipped her arms intothe sleeves. Evelyn had ogled the coat in the window of Bannisters Dept. Store for quitesome time. How on earth did Henry know she coveted the coat? Certainly, she never saidanything to anyone. Not even her best friend, Bitsy Allen to whom she told absolutely
everything 
.She would never have hinted for the coat because times were tough. Henry had beenlaid off from the mill and their only income was her part-time teachers salary. Evelynwas on the waiting list for a full-time position, but she had been on the list for quite sometime and it didn’t look like anything was going to open up too soon. So, money was tightand
would 
be until Henry was able to procure a job, somewhere…anywhere. Henry hadalways been a hard-worker and a good provider. The only thing he wasn’t able to provide
 
Evelyn with, was children.At first, they didn’t think much about it. But, when the months slipped into a few yearsand then into many years, they realized there was a problem. The doctors couldn’texplain it away. So, they had to just accept it as a cruel twist of fate that two people wholoved each other very much would not be able to demonstrate their love by leaving alegacy for their own children. Pity, for they did have much to love to give. Evelyn wasable to pass some of it on to the 3
rd
graders she taught year after year and Henry heapedall
his
love on Evelyn.So, it was no wonder that she would wear that ratty old coat until the threads literallyfell off her back. It was one of the few thing left that she could wrap herself in to remindher of her beloved Henry. And secondly, but no less important, she couldn’t afford a newcoat. Henry had found another job, but it was far less financially rewarding than hissupervisory position at the mill. They struggled to make ends meet until the day he hadhis heart attack and his negligible life- insurance policy barely covered his funeralexpenses. Now, Evelyn subsisted on her meager Social Security check, living month tomonth and missing her Henry terribly.“Morning, Mrs. Murphy.”“Good morning, Dave,” Evelyn replied.“I think Spring is just around the corner, don’t you?”“I sure hope so. I used to love the snow when I was younger, but at my age, I can’twait to see it gone,” she admitted, knowing that the snow, along with the years, weremelting faster and faster. She suspected there would not be too many more winters beforeshe would be reunited with Henry. Not an unwelcomed thought, she smiled to herself.
 
“I saw a stray crocus pop its head up through my front garden this morning,” Daveanswered, hoping to brighten her morning.Dave Ferguson was the eternal optimist. Proprietor of the last independently-ownedsmall grocery store for many miles, Dave believed in finding the best in every person andevery situation. Even when the big grocery chains threatened to put him out of business,he looked at it as a challenge to give his already satisfied customers even better service.Dave knew that when the time came to close up shop, he would be missed. He wouldhave left his mark in Springfield and he could retire with good conscience.And it was people like Evelyn Murphy that would miss him most. For, he was often arefuge from her solitude and a place to go when she would otherwise be holed up in her tiny apartment alone and lonely. Dave knew that since Henry died and her best friend,Bitsy had moved to Florida, Evelyn had no-one else to share her life with. He oftenwondered why she didn’t move to a warmer climate herself, but knew from her oddcomment, here and there, she planned to live out her remaining years as close to Henry asshe could get. When the time came, she would physically join him in St. Michael’sCemetery. For the time being, she would be content to visit every day, weather  permitting. That was why Dave’s encouragement of Spring cheered her heart.“I’m glad to hear it, Dave. Spring can’t be too far behind that crocus,” she sighed.Evelyn took her change from Dave and the small sack of groceries that would tide her over until next month’s check arrived and left Ferguson’s.As Evelyn walked down Main St., she passed the new Rite-Aid Drugs and Sally’sBeauty Emporium. Thinking of how time slips by ever so quickly, it seemed like justyesterday that she was having her hair permed for her wedding over 50 years before.

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