Run for Cover

20 Jan

Run for Cover

For a town that’s supposed to have everything, I’d like to respectfully mention a couple of items the promoters forgot, one of which poses a serious challenge to a Texas tradition: the wearing of hats. In years past, no self-respecting Texan would step outside his house without putting on one. If the man of the house heard a cougar scream in his front yard, he’d put on his hat before grabbing his gun on his way to the door. As we would not go outside our homes without shoes, we likewise would not step out without head cover.

Someone smarter than I will have to do the research that would explain the origin of the custom. I really don’t care to know the why of it. Knowing that’s the way is, and being comfortable with it sufficient. It might have something to do with the fact that our heads contain our brains, that part of our bodies that responsible individuals use occasionally for the betterment of themselves and all humanity.

The history of hats, however, is not the point I want to emphasize. I merely want to point out the fact that there are no places in many of our town’s businesses to hang a hat. In this age of affluence, it is a puzzling development.

Why do you think there are no hat racks or hooks in local businesses? Granted, not as many men wear noggin covers these days, no matter how cold it is or how hot the sun. Could it be because most of those who wear hats or caps eat with their hats on? Shameful.  Perhaps it’s due to the chicken and egg thing: Which came first, the absence of hat racks, or the custom of not wearing hats?

Excuse me for not being up to date with new social fads, but I’m not comfortable eating with my hat on. It stirs an inner revulsion, born of teachings during my early life about manners and appreciation for food, before people had enough of every thing to throw some of it away.  Do any of you remember ever going to the table with your hat on, and what happened if you did? Forbidding the practice is just another one of those moral inhibitions that have kept most of us on the straight and narrow, so don’t knock it.

Aside from early teachings and modern custom, many men might not have a sound reason for not wearing a hat or cap (a cap is not a hat) in the hot sun or on frigid winter days, but I have one, I’m sorry to say. I am deprived of the wooly turf with which the young are blessed. So, even if I didn’t have other reasons, I would be compelled to wear a hat. Not for vanity’s sake, but for comfort and protection. If vanity played a part in the practice, I would hide my baldness in public places. If I did that, there would be less discomfort to fellow patrons who otherwise have to suffer the glare of house lights off my senior light reflector. Perhaps that’s why some business patrons wear sun glasses indoors. I offer my sincere apologies to all those who suffer such a cruel fate.

While I’m writing about something I have found lacking in the public places we have patronized, I’d like to mention one more thing I have not found. It is such a common thing; some might not consider it worth mentioning. It is the peanut, parched and warm, snugly packed into a little brown paper sack. Spanish peanuts like tone ones East Texas farmers grew for food and profit. During the hard, Great Depression years they were sold for a nickel a sack on the red brick streets of our town. No more, but I don’t know why. Those canned goobers available in stores are not the same. And that’s not nostalgia talking; it’s a true statement based on hard facts.

If I haven’t ventured out from my comfort zone long enough to discover these things I have missed, I offer my apologies to those I may have offended by my shortcoming. But I still like parched peanuts, and I prefer hanging my hat on a hook to placing it on the floor.


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