Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Project Cubbins: Hat 212 - Cap from a Cousin Edition

Day 212 / Hat 212: Khaki-colored, 100% cotton wide-brimmed hat with four screen-covered grommet vents on crown (two on left and two on right). Brown cotton hat band has gold embroidery that reads: "  USNPS."

Additional hat band detail includes gold and white pine cone embroidery and pin that reads: "Mississippi Forestry Commission."

An extraordinary hat with an extraordinary story that comes from my second cousin Bryan Tschorn (his grandfather and my grandfather were brothers) who presented it to me today when we finally reconnected some 15 years after we last saw each other face to face. A former fighter of forest fires, Bryan says of its provenance: "After you're in a fire, the guys exchange things. This was in a fire in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2006 and was given to me by Danny Moore."

I did a little bit of rooting around to see if I could track down whether this style of NPS hat had a name. While I couldn't find one (beyond "Wide-Brimmed Cotton Hat"), I stumbled across references to several extraordinarily comprehensive books and manuals discussing and dissecting the National Park Service Uniform in mind-boggling detail. Among them "National Park Service uniforms: Ironing Out the Wrinkles, 1920-1932" and a link to download "Reference Manual 43: NPS Uniforms" which says the following about headgear [emphasis in the original]:

Ranger Hats and Accessories
The ranger hat is the most important, recognized and respected symbol associated with  the NPS, and should be worn with pride and care with the Service Uniform outdoors or in an entrance station, and in most situations with the Field Uniform.

The same manual (which dates to October 2000) says the following about this version:

Wide-Brimmed Cotton Hat
-- Worn with the brim level (see standard for ranger hat)
-- Worn with the neck strap behind the neck unless needed to hold the hat on the head against wind, river rapids, etc.
-- Never modified to hold the brim in a position(s) different from supplier shipped (i.e., no Velcro™, pins, or other method to hold the brim up to the crown; chin strap is not used to hold the brim in a “cowboy hat” style)
-- Must be replaced once excessive fading or sweat stains are noticeable.

So today's sincere hat-tip goes to my cousin Bryan for his thoughtful gift to the Project and more generally to those who fight fires in any and all capacities.

PC 211: Tyrolean Monkey Business
PC 210: Knights of the Round Table
PC 209: Eight Oh Moose

Q: OK, nice hat -- but what exactly is Project Cubbins, anyway?

A: One man's homage to Dr. Seuss and his second book, "The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins," which is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its publication in 2013, Project Cubbins is an attempt to document the wearing of a different hat or piece of headgear every day for 500 consecutive days. No do-aheads, no banking of hats, no retroactive entries. PC started on May 27, 2013 with Hat 1
Got hats? If you loan 'em, you'll get e'm back safe and sound!

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