Tuesday, April 14, 2015



For some of us, every day is Cowboy Day in Las Cruces.
And we’re ready.
In my early years in Las Cruces, my first thought when I realized Cowboy Days were right around the corner was, “Where is my cowboy hat?”
This year, I realized it’s no more necessary than asking about umbrellas. (Like all persons who have lived for two decades in Oregon, I always have at least four and I know exactly where they are: one under my desk, one in the garage and two in the car.)
When I moved to Las Cruces more than 20 years ago, I didn’t have a single cowboy hat, though I had a few straw broadbrims that kept the sun out of my eyes in Florida and Jamaica.
Now I have more than half a dozen cowpoke chapeaux suitable for a wide variety of cowgirl occasions.
There are the two Santa Fe cowgirl hats, one procured in the City Different and another, similar, wide-brimmed, leather-trimmed beauty picked up at Coyote Traders here that I like better. (And so, I’ve found, do Santa Feans, who always ask me where I got it when I’m hanging around Canyon Road or the Santa Fe Plaza). They decorate my guest room when not in use.
In my bedroom closet are two of my favorites. There’s a vintage Stetson I found in a shop in Deming. It’s chic and sturdy and suitable for just about any cowgirl occasion, from county fairs to outdoor music festivals. And there’s a big, corduroy ten-gallon with a really impressive feather band. I can’t recall where I got it, but it remains a cold weather favorite, because it’s large enough that a warm cap or tied scarf fits comfortably underneath. If I ever have to cover a cattle drive in cold weather, it’s just the thing.
I have something on the lighter side, too: my dude-ette, super-light, white straw cowgirl hat with a starfish-ornamented lace headband. It’s stylish, suitable and as cool-as-possible for those 100-degree-plus fiesta occasions in high desert country. It’s on top of my hall bookcase, lookin’ downright purty during cooler months, awaiting summer crochet matches and tea parties on the high desert frontier.
Always handy are a bright turquoise straw cowgirl number with wind-defying chinstrap, and my camouflage-patterned straw cowboy hat with the bendable brim. They’re both on hooks in the garage, easy to grab for emergency weeding on the spread surrounding my little adobe abode or for impromptu high noon ambles on the range (aka my suburban neighborhood).
Then there’s my go-to, hard-working, everyday cowboy hat. It’s black — or was once — and often a little dusty, and worn enough that less-discerning souls might opine that I probably should have thrown it out a few years ago.
But no.
I may rotate other hats through the seasons: the floppy cotton cloche with molas, the straw fedora, the floral baseball cap with wings.
But my basic, once-black hat is always there, in the back seat of the car, next to my favorite PTOSSD (Post Traumatic Oregon Shower Stress Disorder) umbrella.
I’ve worn it to Cowboy Days and state fairs and lots of fiestas, including the Renaissance ArtsFaire, one year when I didn’t have time to retrieve my costume. (I went as the Sheriff of Nottingham.) It’s been to wine festivals, beer blasts, rock and jazz and bluegrass festivals. It’s a hat that’s paid its dues and has a right to sing the blues.
I picked it up at a little outdoor hat vender stand years ago and I’ve never been sure what it’s made of, but it does the job.
Lots of jobs, in fact.
It shields me from the sun without being unbearably hot. It has a drawstring that I can fit tightly under my chin, so it’s windproof. It’s been through sandstorms and rain and sleet and snow and it’s survived. It’s been trampled by cows and horses and my grandson.
I think it still looks pretty good, if you don’t look too closely.
And most importantly, when I wear it,  I feel like the New Mexican cosmic cowgirl I have become.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.

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