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.
A DONEGAL TWEED HAT. THIS MODEL IS AN UNPAID, HIGH-TECH MANNEQUIN...THUS, IT ISN'T ME OR ANY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY
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.
THIS IS A STILL UGLIER VERSION WITH EIGHT PATTERNS.
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.