Today is Skinny’s sixteenth birthday. Yes, really. He’s sixteen. That kind of makes me feel old. He used to be a little boy - I can't remember when he got permission to get older.
I’ve known Skinny for all of his life, and there are several things I could say about him that are birthday post material (i.e. - embarrassing/funny). But I think I'll skip over those this year, because there's something else about him that I feel like sharing. Although Skinny is a fun guy to spend time with, likes to get along and have a good time, and is usually pretty helpful, there's one thing about him that I always remember. That would be his hat.
As a family, we don’t wear hats much. Most Clan boys prefer to go around with the standard Clan haircut - shaved down to their scalp - and Clan girls have enough hair that wearing a hat can be awfully hot. But there are a few exceptions to this generalization. And when the Clan makes exceptions, we don’t go for your average baseball cap or stocking hat.
For instance, take David’s hat. Two years ago, before he started college, he bought himself a fedora. 100% wool, black, the works. He wears in when he feels the need to dress a little stylishly. I’ll leave it up to you to judge how well he pulls that off.
His other hat, which he bought that winter, seemed a bit over the top to me at first. This kind of hat, called an ushunka, originated in Russia, and so it does make a good hat for Minnesota winters, though it makes David look like a bit of a nerd. There’s something to be said for being a nerd, though, if you have warm ears when it’s 15(degrees) below.
Eli also went through a phase when he had to buy himself a hat. He went for style points, just like David, and got a flatcap. I thought those were just for golfers and British people, but apparently Minnesotans wear them too. Beyond Eli and David, though, no one else has a 'trademark' hat except Skinny. And he doesn't even have a proper hat. He just has his do-rag, his Buff.
For those of you who don’t know this already, a Buff is a tube of synthetic material with no seams or stitching. It’s quick-drying, small, and very handy. Dad bought one for each of us three or four years ago. We wear them on camping trips so that the boys don't sunburn their heads and the girls can keep their hair under control. As soon as we got them, Skinny started wearing his constantly, like some kind of bandanna. Even when we were at home. He only took it off to get it washed, and when he went to bed.
At least, I think he takes it off to go to bed. I really don’t know for sure. But I do know that it got so that his original Buff got so disgusting and worn out that Mom and Dad had to get him a second one, and now he rotates between the two. True, he doesn't wear it quite as frequently as he used to, but to me, he looks a little odd without his Buff on.
Why did he wear his Buff all the time? I'm not sure, and he doesn't say. Either he's scared his hair will all fall out if he let's it get exposed to oxygen, or he has some really impressive, high-maintenance 'do going on under that do-rag. Take your pick.
Whatever the reason, Skinny’s Buff is always one of the first things I think of when I think of him. He’s got to have his Buff. And who knows, maybe he’ll get another Buff for his birthday so he can start wearing one that isn’t worn out again.
Happy Birthday, Skinny!