You Too Can Join The Club

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.

Lemmel Fields, hat shop owner and Pops' friend. This man obviously knows how to wear a hat.

Lemmel Fields, hat shop owner and Pops' friend. This man obviously knows how to wear a hat.

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.

Joining The Club

Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Sean Connery, Abraham Lincoln, Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, Jed Clampett... See a theme emerging here?

If these guys have a club; I'm joining. It's partly out of necessity, partly because I just want to be one of those guys--guys who wear hats.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery

Maybe you don't know me, or maybe you do and haven't noticed, but I have what they call a "receding hairline." And like Sean Connery, I've fully embraced it. No offense to guys who have, but I have never, ever been tempted to try to pull a fast one on the world by wearing a toupee; nor have I any interest in joining the "Hair Club For Men".

Sure there are cons to the life of the hairless, but there are a lot of pros too. One of the cons: the bald jokes. Not that they're cruel; just tiresome. I've heard them all, trust me; I've heard them all. And I have all the witty, stock replies:

"Hey, if you want to use your hormones to grow hair, that's your business."

"I'm not bald, this is a solar panel for a sex machine."

Well, this wasn't intended to be an essay on baldness. This is my public declaration: I am now a guy who wears hats!

Is it really necessary to declare it? I think so. Otherwise, I'm just another guy with a hat on. Let me illustrate. If you saw Bill Clinton walking down the street in a fedora, you would probably say, "Hey, there's Bill Clinton, why is he wearing a fedora?!"

If you saw Pharrell walking down the street, you might say, "Hey there's that happy guy!" You wouldn't mention his hat, because Pharrell is a guy who wears hats, whereas, Bill is a guy that is inexplicably wearing a fedora. See what I mean?

I mentioned necessity earlier. I don't NEED, in a psychological way, to be a guy who wears hats. But, after my doctor torched about the tenth "abnormality" off the top of my head. He said you better wear sunscreen and a hat. So, if next time we meet, I'm smelling like a coconut and wearing a hat; you don't have to say anything besides, "Sup, POPS? How are the Grand-Girls and the Amazing-Missus?" You don't even need to mention the hat, because you now know that I'm a "hat-wearing guy."

Our oldest Grand-Girl, Karlee in Pops' hat and her Uncle Kyle's shades. The red cups? All hers.

Our oldest Grand-Girl, Karlee in Pops' hat and her Uncle Kyle's shades. The red cups? All hers.

Part of this declaration process is to convince myself that I am now different. (I can hear you.) Self-reinvention is never easy. There are some hurdles I'm trying to clear. For example: I have facial hair--not a full beard, just a goatee. Have had it for years. I'm not just a guy who's grown a goatee, it's who I am. It comes from my part of my life philosophy: grow it where you can.

Anyway, with facial hair and a straw hat, it could appear as if I need to ask my Amazing-Missus to take all the zippers out of my pants and put an orange triangle on the back of the old Volvo® buggy.

But hurdles aside, I'm following doctor's orders, trying to stop the consequences of a youth spent at the pool and tennis courts, and also to become worthy of my new membership in the "Hat Club For Men."

BTW: One of the perks of the club that I've noticed--it is so fun to tip my hat to a lady. I know I sound chauvinistic--get over it. Oh, and if you consider yourself to be a lady, we meet, and I don't tip my hat; it's not that I didn't notice, or that I question your lady-ness, it's just that I'm still developing the lifestyle and sometimes forget.

Cock your hat--angles are attitudes. --Frank Sinatra