Friday, August 29, 2014

The Hats I Used to Make

The hats I used to make by Mike Beck
   I used to make wide brimmed sun hats out of canvas bank bags. The white ones, stamped ‘return to US mint” that held currency or coin to specific values.  Single layer top and crown, doubled brim, hand stitched with a curved needle and coarse waxed thread. They were pretty good hats, and not too floppy.
   While hitchhiking, a sun hat can keep you from searing your noggin in the afternoon sun. Canvas sun hats can be wetted down, or get wet anyway from sweating, able to provide cooling and shade in one compact, rollable package. I was pretty proud of my hats, made some for friends, had a few versions over the years. I made enough I developed an “ideal” hat pattern.

I lost one once too.

   I was hitchhiking bluegrass country, had caught a ride from a couple of fellas in a worn out jalopy that blew a gasket trying to climb one of the ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains of Kentucky.  Heading west on one of my speed hitchhiking attempts, a delay of a mechanical was going to set me back.
  We got out of the car, popped the hood, and the owner peered in the engine compartment, covered in oil from the leak, and grabbed for the first clean looking rag he could find – the hat in my hand! Whether he knew it was my hat and was trying to get out some of his frustrations on the nearest person of little consequence to him, or did it unawares, will never be known.

    I bid them a thanks for the ride and my adieu, with the owner of the car holding my hat, oil soiled and crumpled up, and walked off into the angled afternoon sunlight.

   Having a homemade item of practical value suddenly turned into a grease rag taught me at an early age to never expect things to go the way you’d intended, or to expect even reasonable permanence from ones’ possessions.

   Lesson learned. Sometimes your shade suddenly goes away.” © 2014 mikeTbeck ARR

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