“The Hunting Hat”

I’ve worn hats all my life. Not all, but most, early photos show me canopied with some type of hat. Mother also tried to make sure I had a hankerchief in my pocket. Last thing she would say as I exited the house, “You got a handkerchief?” She was a stickler for clean clothes, especially clean underwear, and would always remind me that they “take your pants off when you get hurt pretty bad. So be sure to have clean drawers on…and a handkerchief.” I think it was my grandfather, Bruce, who got me into hat wearing. He went nowhere without his headgear; a tight fitting Fedora or Trilby. When I was a boy, I always got one of Pappaw’s hats and wore it the entire time I was at his house.

Hats don’t make the person, but they sure do help. I think. Especially women. I know, I know. “I just can’t wear hats! I don’t look good in a hat.” Oh, yes you do! You just haven’t tried on the right hat, girls. The “right hat” always does something good for a girl/woman. The Kentucky Derby is a good illustration of that. Have you ever seen so many women in hats? And, every one of them wearing the “right hat” looks smashing. Some women do not wear a hat because it messes up their hair. Whole different story. They look good in a hat. They would not deny that. But, it just messes with their hair. Good point.

We are bowhunters. Some of the girls we hang with are, too. We always wear hats. It’s just good hunting etiquette. If I saw a hunter going through the woods without a hat, I would think he is new at the game, or lost out of his mind. Not all hunting hats are created equal. Like anything, you have to go with what suits you best. Some bowhunters wear the same hat, like Bear Bryant, on every hunt, year after year. It may be their lucky hat. Who knows. But, they like it. It suits them. They wear it. Who’s to say any different?

Is there a best hunting hat of all time? I’m tempted to say it is Holden’s hunting hat in “Catcher in the Rye.” Perhaps there some things about Holden’s hat that could help make the best hunting hat of all time. He bought the hat in New York (after) leaving the Fencing equipment on the subway; Ticking off the entire team. The hat goes on to become a symbol of Holden’s personality. He thought he looked good in it (most of the time) and he liked to wear it with the “peak way round to the back.” In short, for Holden the hat served a purpose. And, what was that purpose? It had to do with being vulnerable. Although Holden would never admit it, he was eaten up with anxiety.

Hats are like security blankets. They make us feel less vulnerable. When someone says, “I got you covered,” they are assuring that you are being protected; Not as vulnerable. Hats cover us. Think about it. When you put a hunting hat on your head and venture out into the elements, you feel less at risk, less vulnerable. The best hunting hat of all time? The one that’s got you covered. See you at the camp.

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