“For me, I think it goes deeper. I never talked about you by name. That wasn’t my way, not like Paul who named anything and everything. But I guess I can’t let go, now, without giving you a name. So, Sam, I want you to know how much you meant to me.
“Since Dad gave you to me in high school, it’s been special. He didn’t have to get me a real fedora for Prom, but he went the extra mile. So, Sam, we had a lot of good times, and you were always there for me. I can’t promise I won’t replace you, but know that I’ll always remember you as my first, and while I didn’t give you a name from the beginning, I’ll think of you that way from now on, and make sure others are given that little bit of respect.
I set the banker grey fedora into the metal bucket with as much reverence as marines had for one of their fallen. That’s what the hat was to me. The ugly gash running across its crown and brim had been an inch from cutting into my skull.
I struck a match and tossed it in, standing solemnly as the fire consumed my hat.
“Goodbye, Sam, it was a wild ride.”