By Tim Kalinowski
My history with hats goes back as far I can remember. I admit to having a bit of a fetish for them. It helps being born blessed with what some people have called a “hat head,” meaning the general shape of my globe enhances the hat I wear.
I have hats for every occasion. Casual ball cap, cowboy hat for rodeo season, summer dress fedora, winter dress beanie, furry skidoo cap for those biting prairie winter days, a spring/ autumn Greek captain’s cap, and even an Australian-style water resistant bushman’s cap to keep the rain off my head. I bought that while living in Vancouver when torrential rainfall was a near daily occurrence and I got tired of forgetting my umbrellas on the bus.
Suffice to say, I have a long history with hats, and I am always in the market for another stylish, unique speciman to add to my collection.
I think the origin of my love of stylish hats probably goes back to my early childhood days when the entire family would go to our local country church. We dressed up on Sundays back then, and my grandpa Vincent would always swap his dirty ball caps for his classy, brown Tryolean with a big green and brown feather coming over one side. I used to steal it off his head after church and put it on my own. It felt good. It made me feel older and more mature with a dash of distinction.
I inherited that hat when he died and I used to wear it around the college campus on occasion. It was definitely out of place in the Grunge era culture of that time, but people used to come up to me and stare at the hat, seemingly transfixed by the jaunty feather and the whisper of something classy and sublime from another era.
One guy even offered me $50 for it. It says a lot that a penniless, starving college student who was living exclusively on peanut butter and macaroni, with a seasoning of ketchup thrown in for variety, would turn down that kind of money for an old, slightly worn hat. That would have fed me for two weeks in those years.
However, even then I knew you couldn’t buy class or readily replace a unique lid once you let it go. Not that it drives the women wild or anything, but it certainly makes a statement about the kind of person you are and who you want to be.
In the years since I have done my best to foster a new era of hat wearing in Canada. Modelling my hats for an, admittedly, unappreciative and generally disinterested public as a newspaper man. But I shall never relinquish the fight!
I think that’s why cow folk and I tend to get along so well: Not because I know one end of a horse from another, but because they are hat people. And hat people are always my kind of people.
So lift your lid to cause of hats. Hold your jaunty Tryolean, your elegant Fedora, your natty Homburg or your big country Cowboy up high. Let’s usher in a new era of hat wearing together!
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