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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hat Splat

Just before I went to Mexico in May, I bought a straw hat with a fairly wide brim.  It gave my pale, over-40 face some measure of protection against the sun, but it also hampered my ability to blend in with the scenery.  Few Mexicans were likely to mistake me for a native even before I bought the hat but it bguaranteed that I stood out like a bleach stain.  For this reason I dubbed it the "Gringa Hat."  It served me well, if not flatteringly.

If asked, the hat probably wouldn't describe me in very glowing terms either because I rewarded its faithful service by sending it home inside my checked bag, surrounded by 20 pounds of dirty clothes.
The hat didn't rebound from its ignominious return trip right away.  It took a week or two to puff back up.  Once it regained its shape I got in the habit of wearing it stateside to ward off the sun.

It didn't necessarily look any more fashionable here than on the international circuit but I sported it in places where it stood out less, like the Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney concert I took my sister, Suzi, to this past Sunday for her birthday.  In terms of demographics, the crowd at this show was basically one massive, hat-wearing bleach stain, so my sombrero fit in just fine.

(Musically speaking, I cut a pretty wide swath. This Thursday my other sister and I are taking our mom to see Barry Manilow.  Every now and then we make such sacrifices for the sake of family.  And we're fully prepared, should daughterly duty require it, to belt out every word of "Copacabana," "I Can't Smile Without You," and "Mandy." All daughters should be so loving.)

Somewhere in the middle of Tim McGraw's set, shade crept over our section of the stadium so I took off the Gringa Hat.  To shield it from wandering feet and swaying beers I stuck it under my seat.  Shortly after his rendition of "Live Like You Were Dying," which produced a stadium-wide vibe that left me slack-jawed, Tim wrapped up his set. I decided to check on the hat.  My strategic placement had kept it from getting trampled but did not save it from a fateful encounter with a basket of chips and salsa that got kicked over the edge by someone in the row behind us.

As my sister and I walked out to the parking lot after the show we agreed the Gringa Hat could not, and should not, be resuscitated.  But I thought it deserved a more dignified end than a Dumpster burial.  I've decided to say "adios" to it on Thursday night at the Barry show because let's face it: the only thing this hat's missing is a heaping helping of cheese.

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