I’ve walked past this little store for what I thought was a year. Turns out it’s been open for three. Who would have thought this little hat store would thrive in the heart of Wine Country where we have foodies and wine enthusiasts from all over the world descend. But apparently it does. What makes it special is that they custom make their hats. Except or the special ones for the Kentucky Derby, they specialize in making men’s hats. I didn’t even know there was an industry for this, but I’m not a guy.
Every Easter, my mother would wear the widest brimmed hat she could find. She’d wear it straight on her face, bisecting her large square forehead and covering up her widow’s peak someone from one of her father’s churches said was the sign of the devil. I always thought she looked like Saturn with its rings. I wasn’t into hats or gloves, another thing we wore on Easter and when we went to New York City, where every other person would yell “tourist” as we walked down the street. Made absolutely no difference to my mother, no matter how mortified my little brother and I were. It was a Miss Jean Brody kind of moment, “Come along,” and of course we would. I mean, how would we get back to California?
Later I would love the big floppy hats wit huge flowers all over it in my hippie youth, wearing them with granny dresses, platform shoes with real hardwood heels that really hurt when you turned your ankle, peace symbols and the biggest hoop earrings we could manage that wouldn’t drag on our shoulders. Wearing a hat was a statement, just like the statement my mother made in church. With that straight brim and her strong brown eyes that could see right through a person, she might as well have worn a holster and a Colt .45. She was aiming for souls. I was so glad to be invisible and only in grammar school, where acting up was still a little on the cute side. I didn’t have the taste for conquest. That wouldn’t happen until later and then, well, that’s another story.
This hat store was enchanting. Hats are very personal things. I became a different character with each little hit I tried on. A small green pointy hat screamed for a clown face and big red nose. The black clutch hats with a veil made me feel like the merry black widow plotting murder and mayhem. And then I came upon the mushroom hats.
Made in the mountains of Transylvania! How perfect for a pre-Halloween post. These hats are actually made from a special mushroom only grown there, and being harvested right now. I’m not sure if this was the birth of the phrase, “I’ll eat my hat,” but in California you never eat mushrooms without a spirit guide, not to mention an Emergency Room close at hand. They are odd little buttons, but very velvety and look more like imitation mushroom instead of the real thing. But they are the real thing. They even smell like real mushrooms.
I rather liked this one in the end. It wasn’t hippie, but had an ancient ancestor there. It was already folded and scrunched, which is more my style than the straight brimmed hat that had to live in a hat box three feet in diameter on a top shelf forever. I can’t do the little feather and things the Queen Mum used to wear, but this one seemed to suit me.
So, hat’s off to a great little store. As I wear two hats and launch into my 8th SEAL Brotherhood Series book, SEAL’s Promise, I’m also promoting my paranormal series The Golden Vampires of Tuscany and The Guardians. Who says you can’t wear two hats? I’m rather proud to say I can.
NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Best Selling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance. A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.
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