June 1, 2017
Hats. I don’t wear them, much, other than fleece beanies, in the winter, that I have made myself. The “one-size-fits-all” ones are too small. (Yes, this is the place where you can chime in about my fat head, if you are in junior high-school!) I like how wide-brimmed, fashion hats look on me, but they always seem hot, and in the way, and a little pretentious. I am not comfortable in them. I have bought several inexpensive sun hats recently, usually when I was visiting San Diego and going to be outside for a while. They were scratchy, or didn’t fit right, or flew off my head too easily. When it came time to leave for Africa I had three hats but all had one problem or another—I thought about taking all three, but space was tight.
Then my brother’s wife, who wears hats all the time when she is outside and always looks elegant, suggested several on-line shops with well-made hats. But I could not try them on and was uncomfortable ordering a hat for $100.00 or more without trying it, and time was running short. My brother said he really liked his Tilley hat, bought at REI, and that I should try there. He had been reluctant to buy such an expensive hat ($85.00, 15 years ago), but said that he has worn it lots, washed it repeatedly in the washing machine, and that it still looks as good as new. Now he figures that the hat only cost $5.66 per year, and that cost is getting lower all the time. That sounded great, but he told me this on the way to the airport to visit my mom and step-dad.
Once in Southern California, I asked my mom if there was an REI store so I could buy a hat for my trip. We talked about hats, and she said she didn’t know where the REI store was but there was a hat in the car that Stefan had not worn in a while, and since he wouldn’t be going outside for the next few weeks, I could surely try it and wear it while I was visiting. And, as you have probably guessed, it is an Airflow Tilley Hat, made by Tilley Endurables. You know they are the Maker of the World’s Finest Travel Clothing, because it says so right inside the top.
In short order, Stefan offered to give me the hat, and I accepted. I am glad I did, because I never did have the opportunity to go to REI before I left the country. I was not sure I would wear it, but he was sure he wouldn’t need it, and so I tossed it into my bag—it is easily packed as it flattens to a disk.
Well, am I ever happy I brought it! I try to wear it whenever I am outside. The equatorial sun is very burning—I walked to church one day, and was out in the sun for about 30 minutes. I applied sunscreen, but forgot to cover (actually couldn’t reach) an area on my back where my blouse was lower in the back than usual. The burn after thirty minutes did not blister, but it certainly burned and peeled over the next several days!
I took my first “picki-picki” motorcycle ride last week. I spent 45 minutes on dirt roads, riding behind Suleiman, the driver. He didn’t even have sunglasses, but I was very comfortable in sunglasses and my Tilley hat, using the strings for the first time. The hat stayed on, even in the soft breeze as we slowly made our way.
It is true that neither of us was wearing a helmet, but you’d have to see the road to see how comfortable I was not doing so. And anyway, when in Rome…
Thanks, Gwen, Steve, and Stefan!