"If Old Hats Could Talk"


By Don Cadden

If that old hat could talk
Why, the tales that it could spin
Of old cowboy hats I've heard that said
Time and time again

Now in the brush country of South Texas
Where Frank Dobie use to roam
Where the cattle feed on prickly pear
And the rattlesnake's right at home

You'll find the little town of Cotulla
And a Front street store called Ben's
Where a bunch of old hats hang on the Wall
Once worn by local Cowmen

When city slickers come through he door
They can't believe their eyes
These greasy, dirty, beat up hats
Are displayed like a prize

Each hat has a personality
Like the man it once adorned
Shaped by time and weather
Creased by wind, and brush, and thorn

My favorite is Piggy Jenkins' hat
He's now crossed that Great Divide
But his sombrero's easy to spot
Cause it hangs there all cock-eyed

When Piggy would go in to chouse a cow
Out of black brush bed
They say he'd grab the brim of his hat
And just screw it down on his head

There's hats of fellers young and old
And those gone over to the other side
Hats of Mexican vaqueros
Hang next to those of the bosses for whom they ride

Sometimes early of a morning
With my coffee and the hats I sit alone
And I hear the ring of spur rowels
And the saddles creak and groan

Just think of all the many things
These hats have seen over the years
Children born, loved ones passing
The work, the fun, and the tears

They've worked a million head of cattle
Pulled God knows how many baby calves
Been covered with scours, blood, and stomach chime
And no telling how many kinds of salve

They could tell of rides on raging broncs
That were determined to swaller their Heads
And probably some tender love stories
From hanging on a four poster bed

They’ve been used as weapons to swat
Everything From charging mamma cows to flies
They’ve been tipped to ladies, and doffed
In honor When Old Glory was carried by

And how many times did those cowboys say
"Somethin musta got in my eye"
As they clutched their hat tight to their chest
For a compadre’s final good-bye

They’ve bent to the wind and the speed of a good horse
Two stepped and waltzed all night
Heard things these men told only to God
Up on some hill at dawn’s first light

Now I’ve heard many worldly travelers tell
Of great art galleries where they’ve been
But to me those paintings can’t hold a Candle
To the tales these old hats can spin