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November 30, 2020

Contributing to the Chaos while

Living – Life – Large

Dan Abernathy

I've never preserved or maintained many fashion concerns. I am who I am and I wear what I wear. My fashion sense is collected and compiled from the many different aspects of my life. Where I have been, what I've done and what has influenced me from many deranged outside sources. My fashion sense falls short of accepted normality, but it is unique to me.

Fashion is something that catches my eye. It is something that I feel suits my persona, and usually something that does not fit into the current trends, but then neither do I. I am unique in my own style and have built a fashion sense from bits and pieces of living life. It has labeled me as a free individual and a long way from the confines of the preverbal box.

One constant denominator concerning my eccentric and peculiar fashion is the inclusion of headgear. I have always been a hat person, partly due to my living environment and partly because I believe they look good. Sadly I must also add, in my current stage, perchance vanity has slightly invaded my psyche. Things are a lot thinner under these hats then in years past.

I have an overabundance of hats in many different styles and classifications, berets, fedoras, Panama Hats, snapbacks and flat caps. As I tend to not follow the masses, hats you won’t find in my manner are baseball caps. These small logo carriers are a brilliant scam to advertise some type of something for someone. The only caps coming close to this proximity would be a Scotch cap or my favorite an old stained newsboys cap.

Of all the hats, more times than not, my chosen headgear would be the old beat-up cowboy hats. These old hats have numerous stains, dents, abrasions and dirt from the abuse of wild times, travel and other elements compiled while living life large.

One of the top validations of this reflection was from an American Airlines pilot as he watched me depart the plane onto a Caribbean island. His comment was simple, "Now that hat has seen some things."

Throughout the years these old cowboy hats have collected numerous accessories, feathers that have come and gone, porcupine quilled hatbands, horsehair stampede strings, some well used and favorite flies, a gold Smoky the Bear pin, and numerous faded Grateful Dead pins.

Wherever a travel destination may be, I wear a cowboy hat. They have been all over the Rocky Mountains, on more fishing trips then I can count, to the Hawaiian islands, numerous pubs in Northern Ireland, back ally juke joints and dive bars, Central America, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a pheasant hunt in England and the Acropolis in the ancient city of Athens. Where I go, I go protected by the brim of a Stetson.

Wearing a cowboy hat marks me as being part of Wyoming and the American West. It might suggest that I am a cowboy, but I am not. I have lived that life, but I would not dishonor the profession of a working cowboy by calling myself one. My hat is merely a token I retained from a segment of life. Just as the Thai fisherman pants are from another.

Wearing this old beat up hat with stains, dents, and the a wafting trace of patchouli has been a conduit for interesting conversations and unique situations from people I’ve ran into while traveling or just walking down the street. It furnishes me with more of a local label than that of a tourist, even when I am. It works as an ice breaking novelty that has prompted numerous people to approach me. Through this recognizable embrace I have meet some really great and interesting people.

I was waiting for a delayed flight in an international airport when an executive looking gentleman approached me from behind. He had seen my "Steal Your Face" pin and started talking about the Dead concerts he had been to. By looking at this man totting a briefcase, I would have never thought that he was a Dead Head.

For a brief moment we both were in front of the stage and then engaged into a grand conversation that went far beyond the Grateful Dead. This moment was no longer about waiting for a plane; it was a dialogue with the freedom of nonconformity.

Not all people wear a label, but stay alert; there are interesting people that don’t have their face attached to a cellphone. These are the misfits, troubadours and gypsies that we want to talk to, so avoid premature judgments and just smile and say hello.

I inherited by my obsession with hats naturally. It was my ancestry. My Mother was known as the, Hat Lady. She always wore a brimmed hat that matched the holiday or the season. When she passed, numerous ladies of her small community wore hats to the service to honor her.

Wearing hats is who I am. I even wear hat indoors, though some may think its bad manors. It may not make much sense to wear a hat indoors, but the insulted probably have hair. It may disquiet the medieval knights who started this tradition, but in my reality of now, this is what I do. My hats are mine of different design carrying a style that rarely conforms to normality. I am not being rude and I have no fear, remorse, or malice towards the medieval knights, I simply like wearing my hats. - dbA


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