I’m so glad to return to this blog, which has seen light posting during a winter and spring of eye problems which included three surgeries, the most recent one last week. One week ago today I realized that it’s time to make a commitment to protect my eyes with dark glasses and a hat while outdoors. To my utter delight, Dad sent me a brand-new hat just like his own: a Stetson Rancher straw hat, natural color, from Sheplers. The size was 1/8th inch too small, but there happens to be a Sheplers in Oklahoma City, and today Candace took me up there and they stretched it to fit, using a steamer and a sturdy steel hat stretching tool. It worked like a charm, now fits perfectly, and saved us a long wait for a replacement to arrive by mail. Here it is:
I’m not sure what the purpose of a hat pin is, and this “JBS” pin (for John B. Stetson) strikes me as ornamental, in contrast to the understated character of the hat as a whole, so it might not last very long on my hat:
The straw is narrow and tightly woven, creating a firm surface with interesting patterns:
The x’s in a Stetson hat originally referred to the percentage of beaver fur in the felt, by 10% increments, so that a 10x hat would be made from 100% beaver. For straw hats, the x’s indicate the the narrowness of the straw reed and the tightness of the weave.(*)
I remember when I was very young and Dad bought a grey felt Stetson. The box was enormous. We all gathered around in the living room to express admiration for such a hat. The texture was too fine to even think of wearing it in the barn lot. Later, I marveled every time I saw the box, stored away on the top shelf of the front door closet. I wonder how long Dad had waited for his first genuine Stetson.
Dad, I will wear this with delight not because of the protection from sunlight it affords, but because it is a gift from you, and because it is like your own. Thank you!!!
By the way, I’ve been storing up a slew of posts I want to set down in written form, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to focus my eyes well enough to compose them very soon. Stay tuned.