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Sunday, When Women Wore Hats to Church
Sweet Old Ladies and their Hats
Forever ingrained in my memory are the precious old women whom I knew as a young boy who wore hats to church. They were saints in my opinion and old time Christians who sometimes would shout and care the daylights out of me. I have often wondered why in the little old country church where we attended; the women folk, babies and young ladies always sat in the pews on the left side of the sanctuary and the men folk and young boys sat on the right side.
Young folks who were courting and moon eyed sat pretty much where they wanted sometimes holding hands and sharing the same hymn book. These young couples occasionally became a entertainment for some of us younger boys who understood little about romance. We'd look at each other and grin and sometime snicker not having the faintest idea why. Laughing was not considered appropriate in church.
We were taught early on to respect the church and not to be too wiggle some or make any unnecessary noises during the sermon. For a young boy being still that long was hard work and hard to hold in laughter when some old person let go a Bronx cheer that rattled the walls in one of those long prayers. I have felt the chastening hand of my daddy on the back of my head when I was misbehaving.
The older women in our church wore hats and this always intrigued me. I think it must have been something about covering their head during services and a tradition passed down from the church founders as a matter of dress code for the fairer sex. Social status did not enter the picture since most were farmers wives and by economical standards considered poor, most wore hats.
The silver hair underneath a tasteful head adornment seemed to only add to their dignity. Many like my grandmother had long hair that had been brushed to a fine sheen and combs or hairpins to hold the braided hair which most of the time was put up in a ball on the back of their head.
I will always remember two ladies who wore their hats to church although many other did as well. One was a first cousin of my dad and her hats were always quite large. She was a deacons wife and had several nice hats she would were on alternate Sundays. The other lady lived in close proximity to the church and each Sunday she and her husband could be seen coming down the mountain for Sunday meeting. Her hat was one of those little blue straw hats and she loved to sing in the congregational songs. Her hearing was impaired when I first knew her and due to her hearing impairment, she often lagged behind in the song being sung. Her beautiful soprano voice was almost an echo and for a youngster who didn't know anything about music, I thought it was really great.
Today the ladies seem to only wear hats only at Easter. There are a group of women who now have a club, the Red Haters and I only know this because I was at a restaurant when the local chapter of Red Haters were dining out.
Inquisitive Baby Surprises Old Lady
Some of the older ladies preferrd wearing a hair net rather than a hat to church. Wispy haired old ladies with lots of pins in their hair. I recall being at church one Sunday evening when two older women came to visit and sat directly in front of us. Our oldest son was about two years old then and like most two year old boys and girls was prone to squirming about in our laps.
All of a sudden he lunged at one of the ladies in front of us. I don't know what she must have thought but he had seen her hair net. His curiosity got the best of him and he reached and pulled it almost totally from her head. Her head snapped back and to be honest, I had to refrain myself from laughing out loud. The situation was immediately brought under control with apologies. Thankfully she was not injured from the experience but one I will always fondly remember.