In my last post I wrote about becoming a hat-wearing guy. I have to tell you about the man that has helped me with the whole journey. I wish you could meet him.
First let me offer an opinion: I know that sometimes we have to buy our stuff at Wal Mart or Sam's or GAP or Target... you get the idea. And that's fine for everyday stuff: toilet paper, bologna, Q-Tips, etc. But whenever you can, buy from a shop owner, artist, or craftsman. Here's why:
Lemmel Fields has become a special person to me. Lemmel owns the hat shop where I've bought my hats. Lemmel calls me by name; he calls my Amazing-Missus "Shorty." If you go to Lemmel's shop and tell him you're looking for a hat, he will quietly take a look at your head, then turn to the vast selection of hats on his wall, choose one and place it on your head just so. He may snap the brim, then stand back and look you over.
Maybe he'll say, "That's not the one." You don't know why, but you trust him, because this is what he does. He just knows. If the hat meets his approval he'll say, "Have a look in the mirror." You can continue to try on hats as much as you want, but from my experience you will buy the one Lemmel picked for you the first time.
Sure you can buy a hat cheaper a lot of places, but you will not find a fit and an experience like this.
Let me tell you about Lemmel's shop. I love Tulsa. It is my home. There are so many things to love about it, but there is a horrible, tragic, ugly event in the city's history. In 1921, there was a race riot. An area of Tulsa which was known as "Black Wall Street" for its highly successful Afro-American business district was burned to the ground and many people died. No one knows the count for sure. The area centered around Greenwood on the north edge of downtown and was the wealthiest black community in the country.
Today some of the area has been restored and Tulsa's minor league baseball team plays at a new stadium that back's up to Greenwood where Lemmel's shop is.
Whether you need a hat or not, if you are ever in Tulsa, visit the historic Greenwood district. Stop in Lemmel's hat store and tell him Pops and Shorty said HELLO.