The Last Windrow: Every cap offers its own memorable story

Columnist John Wetrosky muses on his nervousness this time of year when his hat collection is somewhat threatened

Photo illustration / Denton Newman Jr.<br/>

One of them has BB holes in it. One of my caps, that is.

About this time of winter, when being indoors is getting a little old, my wife starts to organize the house. Things that have strayed are put back in their place and some things are put in a bag and head for the burning barrel or the thrift store.

It is when my collection of caps starts to disappear that I get nervous. I place sentimental value on each and every one of those pieces of fabric and plastic that have at one time or another adorned my thinning scalp.

If they ever have a memorial service for me after I've left this planet, they could simply dig out the caps and hats that I have worn, place them on a table and those attending would get a clear picture of the human that wore them.

Each has its own story.


There is the cap that I wore when I managed a bait and tackle store. It features a guy hoisting a giant fish. The cap is bleached from the sun and a metal fishhook adorns the brim.

I had it on when I boated my first big muskie on Cass Lake. I was fishing with two old guides and when I look at that cap I can still hear their excited voices as the giant fish came to the boat.

Please don't toss that into the grab bag, hon.

Sitting on the shelf is the purple corduroy cap with the Minnesota Vikings logo on the front. In a moment of weakness and excitement, I purchased that cap at a ridiculous price when I thought the team was going to the Super Bowl.

Of course, the Vikes never made it and even now as I gaze at that piece of purple, I get upset. Maybe I should let her toss it?

I've got a couple of caps with seed corn logos on the front. It seems like seed corn caps are always some shade of green. I guess the companies are trying to sell the idea that their corn seed will outproduce the others.

Midwest farm cafes resemble green pastures when you walk in the door. If you asked most of those farmers what brand of cap they were wearing, odds are that they would have to take it off their head and look at it.

In their hurry to get to the cafe, they just grabbed one hanging by the front door. Farmers aren't really much into advertising.


You can tell a lot about the personality of the cap or hat wearer when you meet them on the street. Some wear their hats pulled down across their eyebrows. These are serious folks.

Some wear their caps tilted back, off their foreheads. These folks are usually jovial or want to sell you something.

In today's world, some of our younger crowd wear their caps with the bills pointing backward. I never did figure out what that means.

One of the caps I will never get rid of is the blaze orange cap with the flying pheasant embroidery on the front. It has shotgun BB holes in it. It is witness to the time I was pelted by a spray of BBs while chasing pheasants out in Dakota.

Luckily none of them did any damage other than to pierce my pride, but the hat protected me somewhat and when I look at those holes I still see that pheasant flying by.

No harm done and I had a pheasant dinner later on.

So, I get nervous this time of year when my hat collection is somewhat threatened. I know my wife knows how attached I am to some of my caps and she's been good enough to offer me a box to store the mass somewhere other than on the coat closet shelf.

Caps, they really do make the man. Well, at least they try to explain him.


I still see that muskie engulfing my lure when I look at that faded cap.

See you next time. Okay?

John Wetrosky
John Wetrosky (2022)

Opinion by John Wetrosky
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