Have you ever lost something you loved?
I like hats. Since I am bald, they keep me from having a burnt head all summer. Hats are an important part of our culture and are a really important part of some subcultures. At some churches I visit, the ladies have spent an amazing amount time and money to seriously keep the people behind them from seeing the preacher. I like these ladies. They have style. There is The Red Hat Society for women over 50 who like to have fun, and boy do they—sassy bunch. And of course, there are the hats needed by a profession. You can’t be much of a cowboy without a cowboy hat.
Hats make a statement. In Texas, if you spend more than you make, they say, “Big Hat, No Cattle,” meaning that person is all show. If you tilt your cowboy hat back, you are friendly—most of the time. If that same hat is pushed down low over your eyes, you might be looking for trouble. If you turn your ball cap sideways, it can mean you are cool or it can just make you look dumb. If you turn it backwards, you are definitely cool, or you are a baseball catcher, or both.
And we wear metaphorical hats. I wear the CEO of our company hat. I wear an author and media figure hat. I wear Papa Dave feeding my 5-month-old grandson Samuel David his bottle hat.
Hats in my world make a statement. I come from a line of the best kind of hillbillies or rednecks. The kind that loves puppies and babies and will fight you over honor. Hats are a big deal in my subculture. Hats in my world are virtually my only fashion accessory. Every morning I put on a ball cap that has something I love on it to go to work. It might have a T for Tennessee football on it during the fall. The next day my hat might have Predators on it to support our Nashville hockey team. One hat has MasterCraft on it for my ski boat, and another has Wilson Combat on it for my favorite hand gun. You can be arrested in California for that hat. Since we are building a new corporate headquarters, I have a hard hat with my name on it. Every boy in my old neighborhood wanted one of those. And every time I put it on, I feel like the guys from the old neighborhood see me.
When my family visited Belfast, Ireland, a few years ago, we got to spend some time in the Titanic Museum. The Titanic was built in Belfast and the museum is fascinating. Of course, to memorialize the occasion, I bought a Titanic 1912 hat. Since I have a sick sense of humor, I decided that is the hat I wear every summer at our lake house when driving the ski boat. Get it? Captain is wearing a Titanic hat? Most people never notice, but occasionally someone will point and laugh and we share a moment.
So last weekend, a bunch of our family jumped in the wakeboard boat with the big motor and big tower with all the speakers and lights to take a ride to the marina for fish tacos. Grandbabies, Ramsey kids, their spouses, and of course Mimi (my wife Sharon’s grandma name). As we get up to about 30 mph, Mimi gives Papa Dave instructions to close the front window to get the wind off of her. We have a rule at our house: When Mimi wants something, Mimi gets it. That is another story for another day. So as instructed, I stood—as well as my son Daniel—to close the offending window. Yea, you see this coming, don’t you? You got it.
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The 30 mph wind took Daniel’s hat and my precious Titanic hat imported from Ireland and threw them out the back of the boat and into the lake. Well, over the years lots of stuff has left the boat and landed in the lake. Hats generally float for a minute or two—enough time to turn around and find them. So, we first see Daniel’s hat floating, of course, and retrieve it. Then we circle and circle and the fate of the Titanic hat appears to have followed its namesake to the bottom of the lake. This is looking bad. My favorite hat all the way from Ireland is gone. No luck. At this point, no one in the boat is happy, least of all the captain. Oh well, sad, but first-world problems. Darn. I liked that hat.
So, we are idling off and Mimi is apologizing for her request to close the window—well, it was her fault. Then, my granddaughter Amelia, who at three years old has the vocabulary of a college student and is really verbal like her mother Rachel Cruze, recognizes the mood in the boat has changed and says, “Daddy has a hat. Uncle Daniel has a hat. Papa Dave doesn’t have a hat and he is sad, but there is a hat.” What? We all turn and look UP at the wake board tower and apparently the Titanic hat had flown up there and was stuck on one of the lights. Yea!
We had all been looking everywhere but UP to solve our problem. The answer couldn’t possibly be UP. We all cheer and celebrate the lost sheep being returned to my head. Mimi immediately says, “That will preach.” If you aren’t southern, you might not understand that she meant there is a lesson here, folks. Be as a little child and look UP when you are searching for answers. And select your hat carefully.