My Grandfather’s Hat

Papou’s Hat

It’s hot today — in the 90’s (0r upper 30’s in Celsius). There is a shore breeze which brings with it some flies and keeps things warm. On days like today it is essential to have good sunscreen (Neutrogena’s Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock, SPF 45 actually does work; it’s like being sprayed with iced alcohol) and a really good hat for late afternoon.

This is mine. A panema in the “Optimo” style that my Grandfather bought in 1959 in Havana. The hatband is marked “El Centro Manzana de Gomez Habana.” It’s a little big on me, but his boots were pretty hard to fill, too.

The story is that Castro was sweeping out of the hills and my Grandfather’s friends were very excited to go and see the revolution. My Grandfather, a Maryland State Trooper, was supposed to have said something like “What’r ya nuts? It’s a revolution” and to have herded everyone into the hired car to catch the next plane off the island.

As a good friend of mine always says “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” And a really good hat is hard to find.

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