January 24, 2012

Forget Paris

You can't swing a dead cat around here without hitting someone who'll sell you a Stetson. Truly if it's just the transaction you're looking for, that and nothing more, you'll have no trouble. But if you'd rather an experience, some place with a little more substance and a lot more clutter (history is often masked as clutter), then your options start to dwindle...

The Hat Store in Houston is a good stop. I've got a buckle from there on my dad's old alligator belt. Gen-you-wine. Paris Hatters in San Antonio is another. Drive past it every morning. One afternoon, couple years back, I stopped in and picked up that Open Road up there. It's a hat I'd always admired, usually in a photograph as it sat atop LBJ's menacing head. 

Stetson's been making the brim on it a little wide lately. Wider than they used to. Up to two and 5/8". Fine with jeans but out-of-place in trousers. Makes me feel like I've got a foot in two worlds and don't belong in either. So it wasn't getting worn. And there's no sense having a hat that just sits on the rack. Had to get it trimmed. Half an inch'll do. So I take it to Abe at Paris. Abe he's the owner. And Abe says he'll cut it but won't replace the ribbon. Bit of an ass about it too. No ribbon? Unreal. That's service for you.

Now, no one really needs an excuse to get to Lockhart (Texas BBQ Capital... more on that real soon) but sometimes it's good to have one. And in this case ol' Abe's unflinching smugness gave me all the excuse I needed. So I call David at Texas Hatters. Can you trim a felt hat? Sure thing. Replace the ribbon? You bet, mom does it. Of course she does. Texas Hatters doesn't have quite the number of years under its belt as Paris and the Hat Store, but as a friend of mine says "It-ain't-the-years-it's-the-miles."

David sits behind an old bar rubbed light by miles of elbows top to bottom. Doesn't offer me a drink but takes the hat. Sure we can trim it. Then a little history lesson on why the brim is 5/8" inch. Something about the crimping process. But my mom's not here so the stitching'll have to wait. Next week? That's all the excuse I need.

911 S Commerce St
Lockhart, TX 78644


BCM said...

Great post! Been a customer at The Hat Store in Houston for many years. A stop in Lockhart is always on my radar as well. Going to Austin, I always take the long way through Lockhart just for the food! Between Kreuz, Smitty's, Black's, and Chisholm Trail, it's pure bovine ecstasy!

Amatourist said...

Hey thanks! Can't say that I disagree w/ your detour one bit. Last week after dropping off the hat we hit up Black's. Couple months ago I had a terrific Smitty's experience. And Kreuz Market, well you know the drill. I honestly cannot say which I prefer most, though I think at some point one has to put a stake in the ground and declare allegiance. Hopefully that day is far-off...

GSV JR said...

If you didn't live in TX, I'd say trim the brim. But since you do, you might want to consider getting a bigger hat.

Amatourist said...

Oh I've considered it. But fact is 10-gallon just doesn't sit right on me. Talk about feeling out of sorts.