Well, like squinty, blinking moles, we are finally permitted to creep out of our homes and go to stores again. Cooped up during this pandemic, we’ve all missed the occasional trip to the hardware store.
So St. Bob and I went foraging for sprinkler parts, paint tarps, drill bits and the like. We brought our purchases to the checkout where former Navy man Bob reminded the clerk to give him a military discount.
“And I get the millinery discount,” I said, since I was wearing a baseball cap.
The young girl frowned. “The what?”
“The millinery discount,” I said, and pointed to my cap.
“Just a bad joke,” I said. And I realized there are probably two new generations of people who have no idea that a milliner is a hat maker. Yes, I felt about 135 years old.
People don’t wear fashionable hats anymore. Oh, sure, the occasional ball cap, cowboy hat or sun hat. But not dressy hats, the kind you have tailor made in splashy colors with ribbons and feathers.
The word milliner originated in the 1400s, in Milan. If you sold fanciness, this was your title. By the 1700s it meant someone who sells women’s hats.
Alas, like people who made buggy whips and bustles, hat makers have shrunk in number.
But I think hats should make a comeback. Not only do they complete a dressy outfit, they protect a bald head from the sun, and hide a bad hair day. And they should certainly be given a discount if you wear one to a hardware store.
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