Hat as Best Friend

Expecting rain, the profile of a day
Wears its soul like a hat….

John Ashbery

Call me Bartholomew.

I’m a hat guy. As Martha Sliter put it, “A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armour…”. A good hat – a hat that’s right for the situation – is a comfort and a joy… it may literally save your life. A bad hat – one that is wrong for the situation – may be less than no good… a distraction and inadequate.

Being condemned to wearing glasses and living in a rainforest, a brim keeps my windshield clear in all but very windy weather. I’m also balding, and contribute a bit more than my share to global warming.

Sailing in these parts presents a challenging environment, for a hat. It’s got to stay on, blow high, blow low. Keep you warm, but not too warm. Keep rain at bay, but let moisture escape. If it can cover your ears, great, but you have to be able to clear them to hear, or if that cold wind turns warm. And the more ‘hats’ it can wear, the fewer alternatives are required; important in a small space. If it can be washed once in a blue moon, or be used as the occasional bailer, it merits extra credit.

So I’ve tried out a lot of ’em, looking for the smallest combination that covers the widest range of needs. I have many more than one, of course, as one hat simply won’f fit all needs. But the Winner for the title of My Favorite, All-Round Hat is…

Bailey’s DURANGO Cowboy Hat!!! My prize hat! Ooooo, I love this hat!!

Features include ‘Crushable’ wool felt, tie-down lanyard, shapable wire rim on 3-1/2 inch brim and EAR-FLAPS! Everything I want in an outdoor SE Alaska hat!.

My Sister, upon meeting it, then in its fresh purchased prime, was impressed. She allowed as how, wearing it, I was finally able to fare una bella figure (cut a dashing figure, more or less). Until I gleefully showed her the ear-flaps. Her comment: “Oh Dave. You were almost cool!

But it’s warm, even sopping wet. Drips dry fairly quickly and while damp can be shaped (fashion adjustable!). The wire rim keeps the brim from flipping up in gale force winds, and from going all jellyfish with age. Lanyard locks it on the head, if you remember it. Ear-flaps keep frostbite at bay.

And, at least for the first several years, it’s rather dashing. After that, it enters graceful old age as a romantic slouch hat. I’ve still got my first one, some twelve years up the road. Can’t throw it out, even though its successor has taken over the business. It kept me warm in many’s the rain-laden blow. It’s the long odds survivor of a successful, impromtu MOB drill one stormy, winter day in Peril Strait.

It’s hard to let go of a good friend.

Originally posted 2016-03-05 19:09:00.

Editor Note: Read more stories on Triloboats.com.