I’m trying to get rid of an old baseball cap.  It’s difficult.  No, it’s hard.  I’ve tried to throw it away.  I’ve put it aside, in the Salvation Army bag,  three times already.  I just can’t seem to let it go.  That cap and I have been down the road a mile or two.

Every time, I find myself going back and pulling that old cap out of the bag.    It’s faded.  The threads are worn, some of the seams are broken.   But, it fits me well.  I like it.  I’ve had it for going on five or six years.

I’ve owned three hundred and ninety-three other baseball caps in my lifetime. Lots and lots of free caps.  People would give them to me.  I even bought boxes of caps and gave them to friends and customers.  I kept one or two for myself.  Eventually, I gave them away also.

Free caps are easy to get rid of.  I never felt guilty giving away a free cap.

But,  I bought this cap I’m trying to throw away.  I bought it to keep.

My first memory of owning my very own cap is a Navy Blue wool baseball cap.  I was seven years old.  I got it when I played little league baseball in Waterproof, Louisiana.

That  first cap had a “W” on the front and elastic in the back.  Back then, baseball caps, even for little leaguers, were 100% wool.  I printed my name on the bill, red ink. It faded the first time the cap got wet.  Somewhere, along with a lot of memories, it disappeared.

The first cap I really lost  was a red one.  It had a patch on the front that said “Detroit Diesel.”  Someone gave it to my Dad.  He gave it to me.  I was in high school.  It blew off my head one day while I was riding in the back of a pickup truck.  Gone.

Men wore a lot of hats back then.  Boys had caps.  Both the men and boys tipped their hat or cap to say hello and show respect.  Those were the innocent days.

You’d never, ever see anyone wearing a cap inside a building.  That just didn’t happen.  Times have changed.

Back to my cap.  I bought this cap because it fit well.  I liked the color.

I wanted a cap that said Ole Miss, my college.  It was Khaki when new.  Today, it’s a well worn tan.   I’ve worn it a lot.  It’s stained with sweat and stuff. I’ve washed it in the washing machine a hundred times.  The cloth on the brim is torn and ragged.  When all is said and done, it’s just worn out.  But, I still like the way it fits my skull.

My wife gave me a new Ole Miss cap.  It’s Navy Blue with red trim..  Nice, but not the same.  And, I have another, new Khaki cap, with a big M on the front,  Ole Miss across the back, where you adjust the size.  It’s a nice cap, but it isn’t the same either.

She won’t tell me to get rid of the old cap.  Then again, she won’t tell me to wear it, either.  I keep it for when I’m doing dirty jobs outside, like cutting the grass, or sawing down a tree.  It gets nasty and it stinks. I plan to throw it away.  Then I throw it in the washing machine again.  The color fades a little more.  The ragged edges tatter  a bit more.  I hang it outside to dry.  And, I still can’t throw it away.


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