The Magic Cap
When the subject is fashion, I’m never called upon to be an expert witness and certainly never chosen to be a model, especially when the fashion in need is for casual events such as festivals. Few of us, of either gender, have what it takes to look as good as our cover model, for whom neither wind nor heat presents a challenge.
Sometimes wardrobes get a reaction because of a T-shirt with a double entendre message, but for the most part casualness draws no praise. There is, however, one item I’ve occasionally worn to festivals that always draws reaction though my only purpose in wearing it is sun protection. It is a Boston Red Sox baseball cap.
Saints paraphernalia of course, have its loyalists, but they’re so plentiful at local festivals so as not to be noticed, but the navy blue Rex Sox cap with its gothic red “B” is a classic piece of Americana. Fenway Park (which opened the same day, April 14, 1912, that the Titanic sank) is one of the nation’s grand old stadiums, still unadulterated by a corporate name. No doubt many of the reactions I get are from east coasters (other than Yankee fans), but the team, which is as rich in history as the town it represents, has a national following. In the years since the Boston Marathon Bombings, the cap has taken on a new respect (even among Yankee fans) as a symbol of recovery. That is a theme that resonates well in New Orleans.
Not everyone responds to a Red Sox cap, of course, but among those who do it’s a high-five moment, not unlike an experience I once had outside Fenway Park. Four of us were in Boston for a conference. We had not intended to go to a game, but just walked the area for the atmosphere. A young man, probably in his late 20s, came up and offered to sell us tickets. How much? “$70 each,” he answered. Just then a burly, classic Boston Irish policeman approached him from behind, put his hand on the man’s shoulder and asked again. “How much?” “$40,” the man answered. The policeman smiled. The young man had an embarrassed grin. We laughed as we handed over the money. There were lots of blue caps with red “Bs” inside Fenway that night. A gold fleur-de-lis would have really stood out.