Sunday, December 23, 2012
As a child, the only thing that could poke a hole in my magical Christmas bubble was the holiday visit from Grama W. She worked in the hat department of a store, so our Christmas gifts usually involved some sort of headgear... hideous, butt-ugly headgear. Before gifts could be opened on Christmas morning, we had to go to Mass, eat breakfast and clean up the dishes. It was pure torture! To alleviate this, my mom would let us open one present before church. Grama W. would insist we open her gift. Sigh. People talk about the scourge of Christmas sweaters. They obviously had never met my grandmother and her hats. We were stuck wearing some of the most heinous creations to Christmas Mass. One year my sister, Kathy, told me Gram was giving me earmuffs. Oh God, not earmuffs! One of my least-favorite classmates wore earmuffs. Just stamp “NERD” on my forehead, and give me an atomic wedgie. I tried to think of any way out of the traditional opening of the ugly-ass hat, to no avail. When I finally opened the present, no earmuffs were there. I can’t remember what was in the box, or why I believed my sister had insider information. I just know it wasn’t earmuffs. One of Gram’s hats had shimmery spangles in red and green. Another little number was like a big shawl on my head with a kind of doughnut circle placed over it. Only Audrey Hepburn could have pulled it off. I was a gangly, bucktoothed fourth-grader. Definitely not your basic movie star type. I was so relieved when the Catholic Church got rid of the Women-Must-Wear-A-Hat-To-Church rule. I was told that females had to cover their heads in church because “a woman’s crowning glory is her hair”. Seriously? Didn’t dudes have a crowning glory... that could be displayed in public? And why didn’t they have to humble themselves? So unfair. To this day, I have an aversion to wearing a hat. This includes earmuffs, which technically, aren’t hats. Only extreme cold or dusty yard work gets me to cover my “crowning glory”. And somewhere in Hat Heaven, Grama W. is passing out celestial beanies.