The right hat

Sitting with my child bride on the plaza yesterday while she peddled her tasty pastries, a fierce rain fell, as it’s prone to do in late June, and the temperature dropped precipitously.

It was quite cool, and I realized my hat was not right.

It was a straw, and I needed a felt.

hatI do not much care for hats even though they can give you a jaunty air. However, I wear hats these days because I live far closer to the sun than I once did.

Over 7,000 feet closer.

I’ve had skin cancer more than 25 times, literally, not melanoma but the calmer kind known as basal cell carcinoma. Nothing much happens with that kind of skin cancer unless you ignore it, so every time I have to get it cut off and biopsied.

It’s quite a nuisance, plus an expense. As a younger man, I often went about half naked in the Southern sun, and now I am paying the price.

Hanging on my hat rack are two Tardans, one Columbia, one Jaxon, a Golden Gate, and three others, which are nonentities.

Tardan is a fine Mexican company (since 1847) that makes quality stuff. I have a black felt I bought in a department store in the state capital, and a brown felt I purchased at Tardan’s home base on the Zócalo in Mexico City.

My favorite is the Columbia, which I bought at Academy Sporting Goods years ago in San Antonio, Texas. It looks like a straw, but it’s 87% paper, 13% polyester. Yep, a paper hat, but you’d never know looking at it.

The Jaxon is an old straw that’s a bit smallish, but I wear it around the neighborhood. The Golden Gate is brown felt, and the most versatile of the entire lot. I don’t much like how it looks, but other people do, so . . .

The oldest of them all is a huge straw I bought at WalMart in Clayton, Georgia, almost a decade ago. I wear it entirely in the yard now because my wife gets embarrassed if it heads out the gate on my noggin.

sombreroIt looks like it was excavated from Tutankhamun’s tomb. And one should not embarrass one’s bride unnecessarily.

I also own two sombreros. They are never worn because a Gringo in a sombrero looks like a dang fool.

Or worse, a tourist.

9 thoughts on “The right hat

  1. I don’t own a hat or a sombrero. I do have a selection of 4 caps which the younger people favor. I only wear a cap when it is too hot or rainy.

    I’ve lost count of how many skin cancers I’ve had removed – 100s. In Mexico, I don’t bother getting them biopsied. When I saw my dermatologist a couple of weeks ago, she found a cancer growing under my watch, which I never take off. Smart lady.

    It usually takes 30-40 years plus for a skin cancer to appear on the surface. I’m not worried about 40 years from now. Research shows most people get an inadequate amount of vitamin D from the sun and vitamin D prevents many cancers, flu and infections. Mexico prohibits the sale of therapeutic megadoses of vitamin D.


    1. Andres: Hundreds?! Geez, man, but if I recall correctly you’re a light-skinned fellow. I get mine biopsied just to know that it’s not melanoma, which is something I want to know.

      As for your watch, you shower with your watch on? That’s the only time I remove mine.


  2. I’ve never graduated beyond a baseball cap …. but maybe because I live at sea level. Shorts and sandals just don’t work with a full brim.


    1. I love looking at old pictures and seeing all the men in hats. Some of them looked very jaunty. I have a picture of my Dad standing behind a Model-T Ford. He has on a light colored shirt and pants and his straw hat is set at a rakeish angle. Had to be summertime. Too bad men stopped wearing hats in the late 40s or 50s. Baseball caps are not, and I repeat, NOT sexy.


      1. In my opinion, hats are an affectation of an earlier era, both in the U.S. and Mexico. My father also wore a hat, an expensive Stetson. Hats remind me of old movie stars like Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart. Today hats are out of fashion, regardless of their sex appeal.


      2. Billie: It is said, and I believe it is so, that hats went out of fashion due to President Kennedy. He was the first president not to wear one. So that would have been the early 1960s. Men were still wearing hats regularly in the 1950s, and certainly the 1940s. I too bemoan their departure from style.


    2. Sparks: A dermatologist in the nearby state capital told me years ago that the sun risk is higher here, due to the altitude, than it is at the beach.


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