Ah, those good old Cape May days… by Jackson D’Catur
A hat says a lot about a man, or woman. The absence of one is the sign of a degenerate, a wretch, someone who cares naught for their dignity or style. My dearly departed mother, Ma D’Catur, always used to say that to get the measure of a person, you should go straight to their closet and see how many hats they owned. If they stored more than 20, she advised, marry them there and then. If they owned under five, be wary that they are perhaps mentally deficient. If the ignoble characters has no hats at all, then strike them a terrible blow to the temple and leave the house, pausing only to push some lighted matches under the door.
I am less harsh, and would only apply my fists if the closet happens to contain a baseball cap that looks like at some time it has been or will be worn backwards.
My own hat collection, of course, spans a large portion of the south wing of the D’Catur Mansion, and spans many years and every continent. There are skimmers and boaters, caps made of wool and caps made of leather, there are bowlers, toppers, titfers and fezzes. There are berets and bonnets, Tam o’ Shanters and sombreros, Stetsons and Shanghai Shaders, Alpine caps and Viking helmets, hats made of fur, hats of hide, felt and bark. Hats with feathers, hats made OF feathers, hats of every shade in nature. I could go on, but I think you know me well enough to know I am not long-winded or boastful.
Every day I wear a hat, whether to note a holiday or national day, a fond memory, or just to complement my outfit. Sometimes I wear one to keep the rain off, or the snow, and sometimes I wear an aerodynamic one so I can walk faster against a headwind.
Also, I tip my hat, a custom that has no hatless equivalent. It signals a cheery hullo, a nod of respect, best wishes for the day. John Wayne, in many respects a swaggering oaf, did know how to tip his hat at the ladies, I must admit.
Hats have also saved my life: a Nazi sniper once mistook the shape and size of my tricorner naval hat for the size and shape of my head and shot a hole clean through it. And a charging rhino speared my best and tallest top hat off the top of my head, leaving me unscathed.
And once, at Coney Island, I was on the rollercoaster with Henry Ford and Ernie Hemingway and my fine sailor cap fell off my head when at the top of a swoop, only to land back on it at the bottom, with a brand new ten dollar bill somehow inside. I used it to purchase a fine beanie with propeller on top. Treat your hats well, gentlefolk, and they willl treat you well in return.