Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Hat, A Hat, For the Lady, A Hat

I wasn't very old when Mother took me to the millinery shop in Greenville. The dimly lit shop was full of wonderful hats, those with feathers, bows, of bright colors and in dark felt. The sat around the walls on pedestals calling to us as we walked in. A handful of small dressing tables were scattered around the room allowing the customer a place to sit and try on hats. It was a special place that made a woman feel special.

Aunt Welma always wore expensive, beautiful hats. Always a lady of fashion, she would rarely go out without a hat and when traveling often came home with a new one. Mother had a hat shelf where she kept her Easter hats, winter caps, hats made of little more than netting and small bonnets that we children wore. Hats.

So often I'm tempted to buy a hat. When I try one on I feel flirty, classy and sometimes just silly. I walk differently and perhaps talk differently. I am wearing a hat.

My Dad always wore a hat. A grey felt hat. He was quite dashing as I remember. Now I can't remember the last time I saw a man in a dress hat. Oh, I see plenty of ball caps and sock caps but never a dress hat. Frank Sinatra wore a hat. Bing Crosby wore a hat (usually cocked to one side). Even Parvarotti wore a hat. Hats.

I have my grandfather' stiff Katie (a bowler), my mother's raccoon hat, a couple of my aunts lovely hats. I have bonnets from when I was a little tyke, a straw bowler from the 30's, Almish hats and bonnets, a couple of hats from the 1800's. Straw hats for yardwork, sock hats for winter, ball cap for the Sydney's softball games. I have hats.

No longer does a man tip his hat or remove it when he is indoors. Rarely does one buy an  Easter bonnet. A covered head in church or at a funeral is passe. Hats are still good for collecting alms on the street, for finishing off a great costume and, of course, for dress up. Hats.

Hats are still kept alive in children's story books. Cats wear them, wild animals hide in them. We recognize witches hats, clown hats, hard hats, military hats. Lowly worm wear a hat, and if I go to Disneyland, I can have mouse ears on a hat.

I can't remember the name of the old millinery shop. I know it was gone by the time I was a teenager. A day and age gone by. If that shop was still open, I think I might like to buy a writing hat.

Hats. Hm. Missing them.

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