This one is an anonymous beige that was supposed to go with everything. There is a little decorative patch on the crown, I don't even recall what it is, but in that day it seemed that everything Belk's sold had a generic decal.
Also known as a “rain hat” for when men went outside in the rain wearing a trench coat or something like that; you know, a raincoat.
Decades have passed since guys wore golfing hats so that tells you how long it has been but I bought it when the store was downtown Vidalia, Ga., before the migration out of town like everything else. This was before Vidalia onions were known outside of the town limits.
Two decades? How about forty years. I haven't handled a golf club since golfers hiked the course for exercise and sold that shabby, mis-matched excuse for a set of clubs bought in the 1960's. They had hidden behind the water heater except when my son, then nearly two, dragged them down the sidewalk or banged them against a tree.
My golfing was so heart breaking that the guys with whom I played announced one day they had all given up golf, all of them, all at the same time. They were burned-out from waiting for me to hack a ball from way off course or, when I was able to get near the cup, to putt, putt, putt. They took it up again and I pretended I didn't know. They're still golfing, but not together.
The hat has taken on no new wrinkles despite being stuffed and squashed many times but not worn except when I found it and got all sentimental about it.
In later years the females called it the “little old man hat” because it seemed that only little old totterers wore such a thing. My daughter, embarrassed by it, wouldn't walk with me, the Kansas Woman hid it, Little Miss Phillips wore it, mockingly.
I can't say it has served me well. The hat never really fit. It was always too small and sat on my head like a pie-plate, but it kept the rain off and was, when I wore it, convenient.
I have less hair now than when it was new and it’s still too small.
From the hall closet I drew it, wiped away the dust with fingertips, slapped it against my leg and put it on my head.
The guy who looked back at me from the hall mirror looked, well silly.
They were right.
Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.