Monday, January 7, 2008


Sorry to disappoint all you snow bunnies out there but here it is January 7th and its going to be 65 degrees in South Jersey today.

Of course, about a week ago, there was a bit of frost on my windshield. So I went into my "I must end my denial, face facts and admit its winter mentality." Its a Three-Step process.

The first step was to unearth my windshield scraper. It took about 20 minutes to find and couple more to get the spider webs off.

Step Two was locating the halite (rock salt). I was lucky because the rock salt was exactly where I left it last year. Except...that (from moisture?) it had fused to the wall of my garage. Freeing the bag from the wall was slowed because of the insurgence of bile in my mouth when I spotted the rodent feces, in, on and around the bag. (A few years ago the saga of Arnold Schwartzenmouse occurred in my garage...if you're good little readers, I'll save that spine-tingling story, which will be accompanied by a continuous musical loop of "When Johnny Comes March Home Again," for another time).

The last step was finding my Donegal Tweed Hat. This hat and the onset of winter makes me reminisce when I had the dealer school and a student known to all...simply as; McB.

McB was an Irish citizen working in the US. He enrolled as a craps student and at some point came to me to request time off to go back to Ireland. Everything was arranged and McB, to be social, offered to bring me back something from his trip. After I said no thanks, he insisted, so I asked him to bring back an Irish dollar bill.

When McB returned, he gave me the One Punt note, I still have it as part of Andrew's foreign currency collection. McB also surprised me with a Donegal Tweed hat. The shape of this hat is what I call a cab driver hat.


As some of you might have noticed, I'm a bald guy. It certainly is not a good thing but in reality, its not bad thing either. Therefore I have never found it necessary to go the Rogaine/minoxidil route, nor have I ever considered wigs, toupees or other cover-ups, like hats.

However, McB's hat intrigued me and I truly considered wearing it BUT it was the ugliest thing I ever saw. It didn't have a single pattern, the hat was cut into quarters with a different scheme in each one.


My father on the other hand, had a beautiful full head of hair. Ironically, he covered his tresses because he was ALSO a hat guy. He had so many; tams, berets, baseball caps, kepis, Greek sailor's caps, those hideous Russian/mailman hats...the ones that could snap the flaps over the top to expose your ears or underneath your chin to cover them. He also had various fishing hats, straw hats, cowboy hats, woolen pupke hats (with and without the pom-pom beanie on top), fedoras and derby's.

It should be noted that he didn't have a deer stalker hat but I didn't need to be Sherlock Holmes to know that he coveted my brother-in-law's .

He also didn't have a stove-pipe hat, fez, tuque, pithe helmet, Mexican sombrero, top hat, Panama hat, bowler or a cab driver hat.

So I bring him McB's cab driver hat and offer it to him. Well, he knows all about the great Donegal Tweed hat tradition and immediately treasures it. Dad wore it for abut ten years until he passed-away in 1995.

At that point, I took back the hat. I still won't wear it in public. But if you want to see me wearing it, come around my house, the next snowy morning because, its my official snow shoveling hat.

It might sound crazy but it has kept dad's smell...and that adds to the comfort it gives me, even if its only a few times a year. Of course if this global warming keeps up, my little ritual could end too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh God that was beautiful, I almost cried. Did you know I have the Greek hat and the Tyrolean one with the feather in it? But you forgot to mention his "RAT-HAT," he wore that one the most.

- Sis