Well, the weather folks had been predicting all along that we’d have a windy Wednesday, and, sure enough … they were right. In fact, as I write this blog post, the wicked winds are still raging, with the occasional gust up to 38 mph.
But, the weather folks also mentioned that the high wind advisory would not begin until 10:00 a.m.; they were a tad off on that prediction.
I figured I had the perfect window of opportunity to go for a stroll and return before Mother Nature turned on the industrial-sized fans.
I was happy to escape for a walk, having been held hostage by sprinkles and spritzes which wreaked havoc with my morning walk two days in a row. That rainy weather got me thinking that we had flipped the calendar from the month of March and were having April showers. But, March eventually resurfaced, complete with its infamous high winds.
When I left the house, the winds were already humming along at about 20 mph. As I shut the door, it caught in the wind momentarily, so I jiggled the screen door handle to ensure it shut properly, simultaneously patting my hat in place, firmly down over my ears, just in case the wind sent it airborne. You might recall that a few years ago, while walking at Council Point Park, a gust of wind sent my beret airborne, just like a Frisbee, and, it flew over the Ecorse Creek, hooking onto an old branch.
Just like today, it was a hold-onto-your-hat kind of day.
I headed over to Emmons Boulevard, as the Park would have been way too windy with all its open spaces. As I crossed the footbridge, there were about twenty Canada Geese milling about, some in the water, and a few had climbed up onto the homeowner’s lawn that is adjacent to the Creek. They were strutting around, not giving one whit if it was crazy windy out there or not.
I got a few blocks past the footbridge and a terrific gust of wind pummeled me and I had to stop and actually stand in place to keep my balance. Yikes! Time to turn around and head home. The wind siege apparently had begun already, and, all the way home, those occasional gusts were so strong, they threatened to knock me right off my feet. I was happy to get to my street, and hurried up the driveway and into the house.
The extraordinarily high winds got me thinking about an incident with a black felt fedora many years ago, and that hat is pictured above.
I had a below-the-knee, gray dress coat, with a fox-trimmed collar and lapels. Since it was a dressy coat, I got a pair of black leather boots, black scarf and black kid gloves to accessorize it. But, that ensemble needed a hat, and not just a beret, or wool cap like I usually wore in the Winter elements – no, that coat needed something with a little pizzazz and flair. So, I bought this black fedora with the bright feather in the band. It had sash straps as well, which enabled you to convert the hat to tie it under your chin.
To wear this hat stylishly, one had to adjust it on their head just so. For me, that was a little hard since I had long hair, and, tucking all that hair, plus the sash straps inside the hat and out of sight, made it difficult to keep the hat sitting right on my head and not rocking back and forth. In fact, I soon discovered, I couldn’t talk much, or even chew gum, or the hat would slowly start rising off the top of my head. Not a good look.
It sure wasn’t practical for taking the bus, so I only wore the coat and its accessories on special occasions.
And, yup – when I wore it, I thought I was “all that”, like when my grandmother and I went to Midnight Mass one year. It was a cold and frosty December 24th, and, there we were, walking arm-in-arm, alongside all the neighbors from St. Clarens Avenue, as we headed en masse up that steep climb to Dundas Street and St. Helen’s Church. My grandmother never missed Sunday mass, and everyone on the street attended St. Helen’s, so there would be visiting, catching up and gossiping about the past week as we ascended the hill.
Just before we were ready to leave, we put on our heavy coats, then our hats. My grandmother was wearing a black pillbox hat. She wagged a finger at me and warned that my exposed ears were going to freeze since my long hair was all tucked up out of sight, and handed me a big woolen scarf to wear instead. But vain me, of course, would not hear of it. Instead, I plopped the fedora on my head defiantly, to which Nanny said “not only will you freeze your ears off, that silly hat is going to fly off your head when we walk up the street.” She marched over to her bureau, opened a drawer and pulled out a worn burgundy velveteen box and slowly pulled out a long pin with an ornate rhinestone rosette on the pinhead. “Here” she said. “This hatpin will do the trick and keep your hat on your head where it belongs, so you can concentrate on the service, and, besides, it will be handy if anyone gets smart with you!”
She carefully wove that hatpin through the hat, and my hair, as I tried not to grimace when she jabbed my scalp more than once.
Then we set off to join the procession up the street to Midnight Mass.
Well, no one got smart with me, and my hat stayed intact, even though I lost that hatpin somewhere on the way home. I retraced our steps on Christmas Day when it was light, and, it was nowhere to be found.
I have never worn that black felt fedora since that night. It has languished on the top of the cedar closet, sealed in a clear plastic bag, some thirty odd years, until I took it down to take this picture.
P.S. – Since writing this 2017 post, I have digitized all my photo albums and updated this post to include a photo of the aforementioned hat and coat. The coat is long gone, but the hat remains sitting on a shelf in the cedar closet in a plastic bag.