Rohe's Holiday Hats

They recently arrived packaged lovingly in white tissue in a box with a note from his widow.  They sit side by side on our mantle this holiday season next to two others that are perched there.

They sit as a stark and precious reminder of the man who once wore them.

They are Rohe’s red and green, furry, bright, holiday music- playing, ridiculous holiday hats.

Our beloved friend Rohe lost his short but valiant battle with cancer just before Thanksgiving.  The hats are part of his legacy and our gift from him.

Rohe was well known for his gift of humor, good times, and for just plain old silly fun. The holiday season was his favorite time to break out of the serious “work” mode and ignite smiles and giggles around the office.  He was, of course, the life of the holiday office party with acerbic prose delivered perfectly.

Every December, Rohe donned a new crazy holiday hat.  His devoted office manager, MaryAnne, gifted these wonderful hats to Rohe every year as together they coordinated the annual office holiday party. Some hats sang holiday songs. Some lit up with a touch of a button. Some even swayed back and forth like the “wishing” hat in Harry Potter. All were funny and annoying at the same time- and he loved that.  On a yearly basis, Rohe put together funny speeches, roasts, and testimonials about his office mates and their “office personalities” that made us laugh and at ease.  He joked about the market woes and relayed stories about events that had  occurred in the lives of his workmates such as a wedding or the birth of a child. 

Rohe was the leader of the celebration. He was the master of ceremonies. Now, he is no longer with us. But thanks to his wife, we have his hats. This season we will proudly don those hats, turning on all the bells and whistles attached, and raise a glass to Rohe.

Rohe took charge of his end-of-life planning- just as he had with his life planning.  He told his family that he didn't want a funeral. He wanted his friends to “do what they wanted” to celebrate his life and honor his gift of humor– making sure to raise a glass and toast his life and the wonderful memories we shared. 

We will do just that while wearing his crazy holiday hats.