Hats, hats hats and more hats. I like hats , I love ha's hell I collect ha's like a kid collect's baseball cards. I've got hats stacked all over the place, hanging on walls, stacked on dressers, and piled in corners. I've got cowboy hats, military hats, even a British cork Pith Helmet, and boating hat's and baseball hat's. I was laying in bed the other night and my eyes landed on a hat that struck a cord, and made me realise my hat fetish came honestly. My Dad always wore a hat when I was younger. The first one I remember was what I class as a service station hat it had a white cloth top and a black band with a patten leather bill. I have many memories of him carrying me in his arms with that hat on, always with a King Edward cigar stuck in the right side of his mouth. He always lit them but seldom finished smoking them, he wound up chewing on the damn things. I have many photos of him with it on in those early days. Often at a family gathering he would be playing the clown with his knees bowed, shirt untucked and unbuttoned, and his eyes crossed. Many time with his arms wrapped around my embarrassed mothers neck. Only on a few occasions did he strike a solemn pose. He had a pair of brothers who were just as bad. But the hat I remember the most was a brown felt hat that he just loved, He wore it every where. I have one just like it and that is what triggered these memories the other night. If you saw it you would immediately recognise it as what people call a Indiana Jones hat today. But in it's day it was a quite popular hat. As I said he wore it every where. Including one Forth of July family outing. It took place at his younger brothers place about 10 miles out of town in a pretty remote place. The house was pretty isolated except for one house directly across the dead end road he lived on. Back in those days beer only came in bottles and as I recall there was quite a bit of it present. I was only about eleven or so at the time. After My dad and his brothers, sisters and spouses had had more than a few brews the fun began. Dad had purchased a box of what we call today M-80's. A fence post made of 4" pipe was noticed at the edge of my uncles drive, the neat thing was it was embedded in a large chunk of concrete and the whole thing was above ground. With a little muscle it was tilted at a 45 degree angle over old man Coffee's large wheat Field. It was discovered that if my Dad lit and threw a M80 down the pipe and someone quickly threw a tin can in, it would shoot it a great distance over the field. Us kid's were quickly put to work finding rusty tin cans for the adults. On reflection today I suppose old man Coffee was not pleased the next time he tried to work his field. Now what does this have to do with hats? After a time of this activity and more consumption of beer, Dad threw a M-80 and his youngest and favorite sister snatched his hat and threw it across the mouth of the pipe, hoping to send it flying. Boom went the cannon and the hat stayed in place with the whole crown blown open. Everyone sobered up quickly, Dad's face turned red. The cigar was bitten in half and my aunt almost fainted. Dad tried hard not to show his anger, my Aunt cried and the party broke up soon after. In later days it became a treasured family story. My Day died in 1978, My Aunt just last year. Shortly before her death I recalled the stoy for her and she laughed SO hard I became worried for her. She said at the time she was so scared she didn't know what to do. Anyway I guess that is where I got my love of hats. Hats have played an important part of my memories. I met my wife on a blind date. My land lady was always trying to fix me up with some one. Her boyfriend and I both owned jeeps and liked to go camping in the desert. On one planned trip she talked a gal she worked with into accompany us. We were all to meet at her apt. at 3:00 AM. I thought- I'll put a stop to this crap. I walked in wearing a green corduroy jacket, green Levi's, cowboy boot's, and a black and white striped shirt. I had a cut away gamblers vest with a derringer stuck in one pocket. On my Right hip I had a .45 colt auto pistol and on the left a huge British Weberly revolver in a web holster. And of course on my head there was a 1944 issue army campaign hat, the on that looks like an adult boyscout hat. As I strolled in, she took one look at me and hung her head until we were ready to leave. She blanched when she learned she was to ride alone with me 150 miles to Red Rock up hwy 95. It was black as sin on that Sept. morn and she did not speak a word the whole way. The sun was up by the time we got to our first stopping point and time for breakfast. We pulled out the stoves onto the tail gate and after lighting them up informed the gals it was their duty to fix the meal. Frank and I took seats on a large rock to watch. Frank produced a big bottle of Boone Farm Wine, I hate wine, but I was slugging it down with him for effect. She was watching out the side of her eyes and rapidly mumbling to her friend, and I was really enjoying myself. People, this woman had never been camping like this, Never had to go to the bathroom in the wild. Never slept outside at night without a tent, Frank had bought a little wiener dog with him and in the middle of the night he stuck its nose in her face, fun and games followed. To top it off on the way home the freeway got seriously messed up and I tried a new way home and she thought she was lost with a wild stranger. I don't know what kind of conversation she had with my landlady but I thought it was probably interesting. Well to make a long winded story shorter, she has paid me back with a lot of grief for the last 36 years. But yeah I still have hats- fur hats with a leather bill and a fuzzy tail hanging down behind, fur hats with ear flaps. Civil war hats Confederate and Union. Straw hats, felt hats,wool hats and Knit hats. At least a dozen cowboy hats, am I through yet? Nope.Nnow that I just ordered my new PC from Dell tonight I can soon order the "Boss of The Plains" I have been wanting for a while. When I say I am under cover I don't necessarily mean I'm trying to hide my identity, just I've got a hat on. Oh yeah speaking of hats, there was also the Marine corps lid we wore when they shaved our heads pulled down to our ears over our bald heads. After two weeks when we went in doors and removed our lids from the ears down was brown but from our ears up we were white as snow. That was how you could always spot a boot. Well it's time to hop off this train of thought and let my wife have her PC back. till next time so long
HATS, Hats, hats and more hats.