In the movie “You’ve Got Mail” Meg Ryan once said that hats were “always a mistake”, maybe she did add ….almost.

I have to disagree with that. Whole heartedly. Hats can be anything from a statement, to the whole story.

Some of the most important men in my life, my Dad and brothers, have never been seen …awake…at least, without their hats. I am pretty sure they came straight out of their mother’s womb with them attached to their tiny little heads.

Their hats tell stories. Life stories. The worn ones speak of hard work, trail rides and often obstinate animals. They are faded and bent from shielding their owners from a beating sun or pouring rain.

 Others, the perfect ones that only come out of their box on special occasions, tell stories of their own. Stories of love and fun, dances and celebrations. These are the same hats that bear witness to the worst days as well. Days when one is formally bidding goodbye to a loved one who has come to the end of their hat wearing days.

These hats are not fashion statements nor privy to changing trends.  

Someone asked me once why these special men in my life always wore them. Crazy question. The only possible response was to ask, “Why do you always wear your head up on your shoulders like that? Or keep those fingers dangling at the end of your hand?”

Some hats are just there, like heads and fingers.

That is the distinct nature of the cowboy hat.

Then there are other hats. More playful, perhaps. These hats may be subject to whim or whimsy. Like baseball caps. Most often used to cover bad hair days. If you are not a baseball player, that is. But they too tell stories. I have one that proudly displays ‘Zumba Instructor’. One that says ‘Donna Summer Musical’, and one that says ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’. I have quite a collection, actually. They serve as witnesses to the different phases of my life as well as a few constants.

Then there are hats that just by their very existence remind you of times past.

May I introduce you to the Pillbox box. Originally, a design inspired by Roman Soldiers headgear during the Roman Empire.

Its flat crown, straight upright sides and missing brim became the ‘oh so sophisticated’ and elegant style of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. However, never worn as well as Jaqueline Onassis Kennedy in the 60’s. No one can look at a pillbox without remembering the most beautiful First Lady of all time. Her pink one bore witness to one of Americas greatest tragedies.

Often, when I find a pillbox hat in an antique shop I imagine a woman in a straight skirt, with a tightly fitted jacket, wearing this very hat atop her head. I feel the platform rumble slightly as a train approaches. Her racing pulse is embedded in the felt as well as her sweaty glove covered palms.

If you listen closely, you will hear…….’May he be whole. May he be well…….May he be here”.

The words travel through time as if the hat itself is holding them protectively.

Then there are really fun hats. Se Senior, the Sombrero!

A culture of great food, awesome music, fun dancing and unmistakable heritage! Nothing says party like a sombrero! In the height of covid when we were separated from our loved ones, my sisters and I grabbed sombreros and dressed up like the Three Amigos and went around to our families’ homes, stood a safe distance away in their yard and sang ‘My Little Buttercup”.

My niece looked on in awe and whispered…” What are they doing?” to her brother beside her. The worried crease in her brow plainly said ‘what’s wrong with my aunties?’


 Now, let’s move on to floppy hats.

 Oh yes, we cannot forget the floppy hat on wonderful sunny beach days! Nothing says white sandy beach and blue Caribbean waters like a floppy hat!

And it is rather practical, I might add! No need to lug an umbrella down to the beach and fight to keep it from blowing away when you have a floppy hat. Floppy hats are to bathing suites as sunblock is to sun. Follow?

Enough about those.

Let’s discuss another hat of geographical and cultural distinction that cannot be denied. The Panamanian white hat with a black band. Now of course, you can also get it in a variety of colors but the basic white is the original.

It wears well with a pin stripe suite on males and females alike. It gives off a smart, sophisticated, yet casual vibe that bodes well in any warm climate.

Of course, no story about hats could be complete without giving ode’ to the military hats.

They have seen the world! The best and the worst of it. Whether you know their specific stories or not, they inspire you on sight. They speak of bravery, loyalty and dedication.

Yes, hats do tell stories. Not only do they tell them, they hold them for safe keeping. They protect the owner’s legacy. In our family, cowboy hats have been passed down generationally. Like land, wagons, or horses.

 They are held in honor and respect for the life well lived.

The key to wearing any hat, is that it must fit your soul. Not just your head. A non-cowboy in a cowboy hat can be spotted a mile away.

If you ever put on a hat and it does not fit your attitude, take it off. Not that, that cannot change. Of course, it can. But never wear any hat that does not fit your energetic self. That is the self your energy is made of.

If it fits both, your head and your soul, you will know it instantly.

So, are hats a mistake as Meg once said?

If in doubt, ask your aura.

Or, in the case of cowboys, just hold on to the one you were born with.

Suni Nelson

May 07, 2022 16:29

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Craig Westmore
20:10 May 19, 2022

I like your opening line, Suni. And all the comments and details about the variety of hats out there. It made me want to go to a hat store and try some on. I tried wearing a tan beret in college but I got a lot of strange looks and I didn't have the courage to wear it more. I'm resigned to wearing baseball caps on bad hair days (which you nailed perfectly). I loved the story about you (or the narrator) and your sisters wearing sombreros and singing during the pandemic. I would love to hear some stories about your brothers and their hats. I'...


Suni Nelson
17:16 May 21, 2022

Funny you should ask, yes. We have some where we are getting ready to go out on a long trail ride. There's one with my sisters and I with Momma and Daddy and it has always been one of my favorites. When Daddy was getting ready to leave us for his 'more permanent' home we sat around his bed looking at pictures. He saw that one and said...."Those were good times" I said, "Yes, Daddy, they sure were". Next thing I knew I was kissing his sweet cheek goodbye while clutching on to that one.


Craig Westmore
13:24 May 22, 2022

That's a wonderful moment. It would make a great story if you are willing to share it. I've got a few memories that I'm still holding on to. Not sure how to share them.


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