Friday, 06 November 2020 13:27

COLUMN: Don't forget your hat

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COLUMN: Don't forget your hat J.A. Bolton


Growing up on a farm in Richmond County, I didn’t think twice about wearing a hat. Being out in the hot sun or cold wind, people are advised to wear some type of head covering.

In my granddad’s time and before that, hats were something of a fashion statement. Why, ladies wouldn’t leave home without their hats or bonnets on. They would wear them to work outside, at church, or when attending a party. Men also had their felt Sunday-go-to-meeting hats. My granddad and uncles wore felt hats something like Indiana Jones wore in the movies. When these hats became worn out, they were used for everyday or fishing hats.

When I was a lad, farmers chose a green-brimmed straw hat for their summer work. That type of hat was worn by grandmas or great “aints,” as well as field hands and gentlemen farmers alike. Even fishermen wore this style of straw hat. With these fast boats in today’s world, I’ll bet you’d have to tie that type of hat down with a plow line to keep it on.

Wearing a hat my entire life, I’ve found that with my receding hairline and loss of hair, a hat keeps my body warmer and I don’t get my head sunburnt. Any of y'all ever get your head blistered and had to rub Noxzema or other sunburn lotion on it? It ain’t no good feeling.

My wife says that I’ve got enough hats for a small army. Somehow, I just can’t resist buying a hat that I like. I reckon you might say that I’m a sucker for a nice hat.

I’ve found that a hat can be a useful tool. Yessir, they can swat down a wasp, yellow jacket, mosquito or them blame biting deer flies. A hat can also be used for other things besides covering your head, such as taking up a collection or for gathering nuts and berries.

An old hat can be used for double duty while working or even fishing for your favorite fish. In my granddad’s time, folks were still a little superstitious — they thought if’n you didn’t wear your lucky fishing hat you might not catch as many fish. Why, they would have all types of fishing flies, hooks, and plugs attached to their hats.

Hats come in all sizes and shapes for both men and women. In the late 1800s, ladies wore hats that had wild bird feathers attached to them. These hats stayed in fashion until the animal and bird societies thought better of it. Then along came what I call the “pot hats” for women. You know, the ones that had a very small feather and fit down around their ears. Later, women started wearing what they called a pillbox hat. That stayed in fashion for a while, but now women prefer to wear no hats at all. Strange world, ain’t it?

Our forefathers in the 1700s wore the hat that had three points called a tricorn. Later, men of society started wearing top hats like Abe Lincoln wore. At the same time, men in the backwoods wore beaver- or coon-skin hats. These fur hats became so popular around the world that the trappers almost trapped every beaver around.

Now we can’t forget the famous cowboy hat, no sir. Why, a western cowpoke wouldn’t be caught dead without his hat or boots on. These wide-brim and high-crowned hats were most likely adopted from the Mexican vaqueros before the invention of the modern design. Still, one of the most sought-after name brands of any hat is the Stetson.

Probably the most-worn hat today is the baseball cap. Some people wear them with their bills pushed back, with the bills flat, some even with a curved bill, while some folks even wear them backwards. Baseball caps come in many colors usually with logos on the front, but sometimes on the back or side. This is the type I usually wear, but a wide brim hat provides a lot more protection.

Another hat I’ve started wearing to church or out and about is called a flattop (sometimes called a scally cap.) It’s a rounded cap with a stiff brim, originating in Great Britain and Ireland.

Nowadays most young folks don’t wear a hat at all. I wonder when they get older what their dermatologist will be telling them.

Well, I’ve tried to write a little on the brighter side. Y'all stay safe out there and, by all means, don’t forget your hat. 

J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and just released his new book, “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories.” All of which can be purchased on Amazon. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..