Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hats I have known and loved...

Is it really so wrong to love a hat?

The first hat I fell for, and don't tell me it was an adolescent crush, was my Milwaukee Braves baseball cap. I wore it every day, every where (much to the chagrin of my parents), for a long time. It was my fishing hat, play hat, and constant companion until a hired assassin spirited it away in the night. I was crushed, in part because the Braves moved to Atlanta, and the script "A" on the new hats simply didn't match up to the stolid, blocky Wisconsin style "M" on the old one.

There were other hats, mostly light-hearted flings, over the next few years. But I began to notice that I had hair, and that hats did not allow me to show off my shimmering locks in the way the Creator intended. Those were the years of many a sunburn, all in the name of vanity, for which I now pay penance by having ugly sores and surgeries on my face and head on a regular basis.

There were lucky golf hats in high school, and a collection of stocking caps. I played the field in those years, wearing and discarding hats in succession. Easy come, easy go.

My next serious hat affair was a menage a trois (literally: household of three) comprising my increasingly bald pate, a plaid wool sports cap, and a heavier, hounds-tooth wool cap in brown. I could have settled down with the brown cap, except that it was just slightly too small. It looked pretty good balanced on top of my head, but the least puff of wind revealed my male pattern genetic make-up. It stayed on when I folded down the built-in ear flaps, but then I looked even dorkier than usual.

The plaid cap was lighter weight, fit better, and matched the lining of my winter coat. It became my cap of choice, and I was ready to make a commitment -- and it left me. OK, I left it -- in the closet of a hotel room in Chicago. I made phone call inquiries in an effort to win it back, but to no avail. It was gone, and I was bereft.

On the rebound I bought another Pendleton Wool cap, but it was as big as the brown cap was small. I tried an Aussie style felt hat, which looked great when my hair was longer and stuck out the back. But I couldn't wear it inside a car, and my now bare head needs protection on cold mornings, even in the car. I have a great collection of stocking caps and watch caps, including ones knitted by my ever-creative daughter, Erin, and a nice wool one from Denmark. Alas, these lack a brim, which my sun-damaged skin now demands.

So, once more with feeling, I've purchased, a hat. Is it unique? Can you say, "built-in forehead warmer?" How about "Royal Canadian Mounted Police inspired 'Tilley Tether'" (a strap which goes around the forehead to prevent wind loss). It has a lifetime replacement warranty should it wear out, and an insurance policy against loss for 2 years. I'm thinking, "This is the one."

So without further todo, I'm proud to introduce my new winter companion:

I'm talking on my cellphone to Sally, and smiling as I describe the wonderful features of the hat. Given what I paid for it we probably won't be able to afford to heat the house this winter. At least my forehead will stay warm.

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