The Red Roses of Tonia (Henry)

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The Red Roses of Tonia
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two men raced to buy an Easter hat for a woman they both admired, but after a series of mishaps, one of them managed to bring her a hat that she happily wore to church.

In a small town in Texas, Tonia Weaver eagerly awaited her new Easter hat, which was delayed due to a burned trestle on the International Railroad. Tonia was upset as she wanted to wear the hat for the upcoming Easter Sunday celebrations.

I hate railroads. And men. Men pretend to run them. Can you give any excuse why a trestle should burn?

Two men, Wells Pearson and Thompson Burrows, who were both interested in Tonia, decided to ride to a store in Lone Elm Crossing to find her a new hat.

Tonia Weaver — young woman; desired by two men; strong-willed, caring.
Wells Pearson — cowman; one of Tonia's admirers; competitive, resourceful.
Thompson Burrows — sheepman; another admirer of Tonia; competitive, cunning.

They found two identical red straw hats with white roses and decided to race back to Tonia's house to see who could give her the hat first.

Then, said Burrows, darkly, the best man of us’ll take it back to the Espinosa.

During the race, Pearson was shot in the shoulder and his horse, Road Runner, was injured as well. Pearson managed to get back on his horse and continued the journey, unknowingly crushing the hat in the process. Meanwhile, Burrows arrived at Tonia's house and presented her with the hat he had bought. However, Tonia's friends informed her that the hat was out of style and she tearfully refused to wear it.

Pearson eventually arrived at Tonia's house, looking disheveled and covered in dirt. He presented the crushed hat to Tonia, who was overjoyed to see that it was the perfect shape and had red roses. She thanked Pearson and invited him to attend church with her the next day.

Thank you, thank you, Wells. It’s just what I wanted. Won’t you come over to Cactus to-morrow and go to church with me?

Pearson revealed that he had painted the white roses on the hat red, as that was Tonia's favorite color.