a Hoosier and his hat

Not long ago someone raised the question on HH concerning my lack of hat wearing.....they commented that they never saw me in a hat (as if I didn't bleed red, white and blue because of it). Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, my head gets all itchy when I wear a hat and second, because of some inherited natural curl from my Irish side-if I wear a hat, it's best that I never take it off. Furthermore, unlike a good number of my friends and family, I've managed to keep all my hair so there is no bald spot to cover from the sun. So-no-I'm not much of a hat wearer. And while my dad wasn't either, my grandpa was...in fact, I have his hat from the LaPaz Grain Elevator (long since gone) that he wore about the last decade or so of his life.

However, about 13 years ago I picked up a hat in Indianapolis at a now defunct clothier because within a few weeks I would be traveling to a wedding near Banf/Alberta, Canada. This would be a straight thru-drive and I didn't want to be running in and out of diners and gas stations with a nasty looking crown. The hat was a simple blue baseball style cap with USA on the front and an American flag on the back. I didn't buy one of those "pre-stressed" jobbies....I wanted a natural and authentic wear to the cap.

on its initial voyage-a ghost town in Montana-1996

1996-just days old and still blue, Port Huron, MI with bro and cuz

And so the hat, me & my buddy Randy, and my new Mustang made the long trek to Banf. This was its initial voyage. Since then it has been everywhere when traveling or backpacking warrant head coverage. After Banf, the cap went backpacking the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, camping in Acadia National Park, down Route 66 from Chicago to Vegas, camping at Yellowood State Forest, our journey to Wyoming, several trips canoeing and kayaking down Sugar Creek, all kinds of youth retreats, a work project at the Red Lake Indiana Reservation in Minnesota, backpacking the UP, trips down the Tippy and Yellow Rivers, a few sunny days on the beaches of Lake Michigan, caving in southern Indiana, bailing hay and work days around the community, and most recently....to Gettysburg.

Appalacian Trail with college buddies-1997

backpacking the UP with Kev & Rich-2007

A slight panic set in at Ohiopyle last weekend when for the life of me I couldn't find the hat in the tent, showers or around the camp site in the morning. It was under my sleeping bag. Whew.

a rare everyday wear-mom's 60th-2008

The blue has faded to a weathered grey-blue color. A little paint is on the bill of the cap from a work day at a one room schoolhouse we restored. But it has that authentically worn look from the color to the curvature of the bill that only 13 years and tough love could produce. I've considered writing on the inside of it all of our exciting destinations together...maybe, one day. The cap is a treasured part of who I am, pitching in like a faithful friend when I need it the most....sharing some of the best memories of the last decade and well on its way to another.


Anonymous said…
Hey don't be blamin' that look on the IRISH! I think you may have been left on your parents door step!! (hehe) Nice story, now I am glad I asked about your hat wearing habits! OH and thanks for the jab at those of us who are folically challenged!
vanilla said…
That li'l ol' cap is a hat?
Enjoyed the story. I don't wear a hat in spite of my ownership of many of the same, including my Dad's Dobbs fedora and a Stetson 4x that my beloved spouse gave me. Dad chastised me often for failure to go properly attired, but I still have more hair at 75 than he did at 55.
hoosier reborn said…
I had a cowboy hat at one time, back when I thought I was one of the Duke boys and knew something about horses because of grandad. My head was way too small for it.
Anonymous said…
I had a thought...your hat speaks to your true conservatism. You can only wear one hat at a time and this one is serving you well so why waste the money to buy another. Now I am not confusing that with political conservatism which probably feels that you are one of those tree huggin' crazies that it trying to save the earth by not consuming....isnt it an odd paradox that Conservatives believe that the American habit for consuming far more than our share of the worlds resources is our right and Liberals believe that consuming less than we do now is the position to take????? I tell you what as one of you few liberal friends I will share a couple of my hats with you and we will not consumed anymore resources!
hoosier reborn said…
At first I thought you meant because of the USA and flag on it. Well, I guess I agree with you..it is really more the nature of who I am-most of the time. I consider myself a true conservative-it's just that most Republicans are not-as you pointed out-truly conservative. And I think that's the rub.

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