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U3A Writing: Pass Round The Hat

"Looking at some of the hats on the street today, Iím not sure if I would like them passed to me. One or two Iíve seen look like they may well be able to get up and walk away on their own without being passed,'' writes Elwyn Frankel.

Pass round the hat ... what an odd saying! Why on Earth would you want to do such a thing? Certainly if you are one of the many people who have moved here from another country, it would seem an extraordinary thing to do.

Hats come in all shapes and sizes and colours, we have large shady hats, middle sized hats, warm fluffy ones, little whispy ones, and of course these days the inevitable baseball cap. Some people wear their hats for protection from the sun or other objects, others wear theirs for show, and some may be worn for religious reasons.

My father never set foot outside the door, day or night, without his hat. The good sturdy bushmanís hat, made by Akubra, of course, from rabbit skin felt. That hat had many uses. Sometimes it came to the house upside down in his hand, with several fluffy chickens inside it. Iíve seen it used to give a young pup in training, or a reluctant lamb or calf a whack on the rump to get them going in the right direction. Many times it was filled with water from the waterbag, and used as a drinking dish for a working dog. It was always one of the first to be passed around when he felt it necessary.

Looking at some of the hats on the street today, Iím not sure if I would like them passed to me. One or two Iíve seen look like they may well be able to get up and walk away on their own without being passed.

Yes, hats are fascinating things. They serve many purposes and I hope we never lose the tradition of Passing Round the Hat.

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