Is your hat too tight

The days are shortening at an astounding rate. I get up Monday mornings at 5:45 and get to the office at around 7 a.m. It is very noticeable that each Monday morning is darker and now I need to turn on all the lights.

Some weeks ago I read a piece in the Post Standard by Hart Seely about a North Country gentleman by the name of Mart Allen. He makes hat stretchers. I have a canvas hat with a green under-brim and a neck shield to shade my neck that I can let out of a pocket on the back brim. It also has a zipper in the crown where I can stash an emergency $20 or two. This hat was a tad tight when I bought it, but when I tugged it down with authority to keep it from blowing off, I felt it would stretch a bit. However, if the hat soaks up an afternoon's load of perspiration, it shrinks back to size 6 7/8 instead of my head size of 7 3/4.

You can understand why I jumped on the bandwagon. I called Hart Seely and got Mart's phone number. Mart and I had a nice chat about tight hats and I ordered his stretcher. It really works and is a fine piece of North Country craftsmanship.

I told Mart that I do a wee piece for the Press and discussed his writing for the Town of Webb Express. Now, when I finish the column, my IT person emails it to the Press and a copy to Mart. A few days later, I get a copy of his latest effort for the Express. He is certainly an excellent writer and some of his tales are very humorous.

His last bit was about a grouse-shooting trip with his grandsons. The weather was not conducive to success and they got one grouse for their efforts. The ride home with two wet dogs was described in detail and I laughed so hard that I will pass it on to you. "By 3:30, gloom, despair, and agony had set in, especially for Tecwyn [one of Mart's grandsons] who was crammed into the back seat between two muddy dogs. Every stop had provided the dogs an opportunity to find some disgusting stagnant muddy pool to lie in and slake their thirst. The final revolting event was Dutch heaving up all over the middle of the back seat. It took a strong stomach and half a roll of paper towels to clean it up." Mr. Lemon has, on occasion, done the same to his space in my Trailblazer.

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