I was unfeeling, ignorant and overall a bad owner. Did I really deserve such a treasure?
It is with a heavy heart that I write this eulogy to note the end of the useful life of my favorite old red hat. This is not a laughing matter, nor do I write this for comedic response. My red hat has been with me all over the world, it has protected me from melanoma and been my best friend on bad hair days. Dear old red hat, ‘o how I will miss thee.
I haven’t always liked hats. Most sailors will tell you however, that a hat is essential to protect from the strong rays of the tropics. When I was in the Navy, I was required to wear a hat (a cover) every time I left a building. It was mandatory. I’m not much into rules so when I left the Navy, I tended to avoid anything on my head. My little dig at authority if you will.
As I traverse the my early forties with a full head of hair (very little gray) I don’t really need a hat to look great. So a few years back when my old red hat was a new red hat in a Tommy Bahama store, I wasn’t open, available or looking. But like any hot twenty-one year old bikini model getting out of a 1968 red corvette convertible, sometimes you can’t help but stop and look. The introduction went down in a similar way between my hat and me.
I’m not one for overly commercial clothing, hats included. But the message on this hat was simple but deep at the same time. The message broadcast a way of life, a belief system, a middle finger to the rat race. Every time I looked at myself in the mirror when I wore my hat it simply said, “RELAX”.
Some other nice little touches of my favorite hat was the martini recipe that was printed on the inside. Classy. The metal clasp to adjust the size was also top shelf if I may say so. The other cool thing was that it was not prematurely worn or frayed. In it’s day it was actually a presentable deep red ball cap.
What happened? Why has my old red hat come to it’s final days? The answer I must tell you is too much wear and tear, and too little love. See, if I had appreciated my dear old red hat more, if I had stopped just once to think that the way I was treating it could result in it’s demise so soon I could have extended it’s life. No, I was unfeeling, ignorant and overall a bad owner. In short, I took it for granted. Was I really worthy of such a treasure? Perhaps it would have been better for us both if I had continued to walk through the aisle at that Tommy Bahama store and never looked up to meet it.
In the end it found itself in my dark closet (the travesty after the bright sunny days of it’s prime) next to many other, less special hats. In these past closing months I would open the closet door for a hat only to reach past my trusty old red hat for another, newer model. The other day I grabbed for a hat in similar fashion when I stopped and took account of my unloving actions. I caught my old red hat out of the corner of my eye and felt a distant but similar spark as the day we first met. When I pulled it closer for inspection I noticed the dark sweat stain around the brim. Evidently I had ridden it hard and put it away wet. So to speak. Maybe a washing was in order. It was the death blow.
When my dear old red hat came out the other side the brim was torn open to the point where I could no longer wear it. Perhaps some of you would cherish such a look. Myself I think it’s just time. I’ve considered giving the hat to a new home. Kind of like sending the family dog to live with a new family on a big farm with lots of land where he can run. Haha, like that ever really happens. No, instead I’ve decided to take my dear old red hat with me to Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands and hang it in the rafters of Corsair’s. This will be the best and most perfect final resting place for my loyal friend. I’ll probably include a copy of this eulogy inside it, so one day someone will really understand from where it came and feel my repentance for being so ignorant in the closing days.
Like with the passing of the old, there is always a spring, a rejuvenation. I can’t say that I will ever truly forget my dear old red hat, but I have been seeing two others lately. A sort of ménage à trois of hats. After so many exclusive years with just one, I’ve decided to play the field a little. Don’t worry, they know about each other. They sleep together each night as a matter of fact. Both are newer models with very nice lines. Each has a special something about them that I love. Maybe by having two at the same time, the whole thing will last a bit longer than just having one. A little variety is the spice of life right?
Today, I wear my Castaway Hat from RumShopRyan.com and my NSR (No Shoes Radio) hat from Kenny Chesney. I expect each will see me through many years of rum, sun and fun. And on the days I’m not wearing either they will have each other for company.
Dear old red hat, you served me well. R.I.P.
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