The old Scala hat had gone from one side of the world to the other and back again. I bought it in California, and it had shaded me from the sun at sea level in Taipei, Taiwan, on the battlements of India’s Amer Fort, up Platteklip Gorge to the top of South Africa’s Table Mountain, and all the way to 4,500 meters at the foot of Yangmaiyong in Yading, China. It had been to the icy summit of Germany’s Zugspitze and on the storied hills of Toledo, Spain.
In the middle of some Turkish ruins, I had this exchange with a Korean tourist.
Him (pointing at my hat): Where’s your horse?
Me (looking around frantically): I lost my horse??!
I was always glad the hat was crushable. Stuffed in a backpack countless times, it still kept its shape–for the most part, anyway. Over the years, it had lost its little split leather adornment. The metal rivet that used to hold that piece had rusted beyond recognition. The liner of the inner hat band had disintegrated.
About a year ago, I cleaned it rather badly, so the crown was now skewed, and the brim dipped too low over my eyes. It had lost some stiffness so it flopped around when the wind was strong. Maybe it was time to replace it. I checked online. Nothing. It wasn’t even mentioned on the company website.
Back in California, the San Francisco REI still had a few. I browsed the rack, hoping for the best. They were all the wrong size. I asked the staff to see if they had back stock. No such luck, but while they were looking I spied the hat on a mannequin. It fit me! “Take it!” they said.
I did. It was the only one my size in the whole store. Apparently, the company stopped making this model. We went online and found another one in black. Only one. We ordered that one, too.
It was such a good hat,
And it’s still a good hat.
Well, I guess that’s that:
It’s time for a new hat.