Rambling

Old Goats … A group of Canadians travelling by tour bus through Holland were being led through the cheese-making process by a guide at a…

Old Goats …

A group of Canadians travelling by tour bus through Holland were being led through the cheese-making process by a guide at a cheese farm. She was explaining that goat’s milk was their special ingredient.

She pointed to a rich, green hillside where lots of goats were casually grazing. These goats, she explained, were the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produced.

She then asked, “What do you do in Canada with your old goats that aren’t producing?”

A sharp older gentleman, tipped his hat to her, and replied, “They send us on bus tours!”

Home is where one hangs one’s hat …

A tip of the hat to those who tip their hat as a gesture of courtesy, which it still is. However, there’s little doubt there are millions of ladies and gents around who  may not see it as a courteous gesture, or have no idea what the O.G. is doing.

Some accidental Google stumbling revealed the simple hat-tipping gesture had it’s beginnings in the Middle East, when the ancient Assyrians ordered prisoners brought home from their wars to strip naked to “demonstrate subjugation to their conquerors.”

Now isn’t that a likely story?

The Greeks apparently refined the practice requiring new servants to strip from the waist up. Another likely story eh?

The Romans — give them credit — started at the feet. Anyone entering a holy shrine had to remove their sandals. Ordinary Joes, or persons of low rank, were required to take off their shoes before entering a superior’s home, so we can’t accuse them of voyeurism now can we? Well unless you have a foot fetish.

The connection is frail, but historians say the hat finally came into the picture in the Middle Ages in Europe when the snobbish feudal lords demanded serfs bare their heads when coming into their presence.

The Christian Church thought it a good idea, and soon had men could doffing their hats before entering, and English women began taking off their gloves when presented to royalty.

Apparently the male “bow” and the female “curtsy” came along in this era, both, we’re told, leftover acts of subjugation, or respect, and both are still in use.

This is still going on in Canada at Government House. Protocol officers still ask those ushered into her illustrious presence to genuflect as instructed. Some do, some don’t.

A slight nod is all you’ll get from defiant anti-monarchists, and others who live by old advice: “If you don’t look down on anyone, you’ll not have to look up to anyone,” or is it the other way around?

Anyway it all came down to tipping your hat, accompanied by a smile, a greeting, and it was usually reserved for the ladies.

Though there are some admirable O.G.’s, especially those who threw their hat into the ring and went to war, when they tip their hat to one another it holds more meaning than those who haven’t been there can appreciate.

The implicit statement in all this hat lore remains, “I am your obedient servant,” although today it’s more like a silent, “Hi, Howya doin’?” and that’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it?

Seeking reasons and explanations about all this hat lore psychologists say it all comes about as “sheer accident along the cultural trail.”

So the current trend among our young folk — imitating the old children’s rhyme “with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes,” with iPod’s and cellphones in their ears and rings in their noses, toes and everywhere you can suppose, is, like tipping the hat, “sheer accident,” and will fade into oblivion, or become the next millennium’s “tip of the hat.”

I know it’s old hat, but it’s my hat, and a tip of it to those who will soon throw their hat into the ring for the upcoming elections.

May you keep nothing under your hat that could later be construed as a bee in your bonnet, and should you be elected, please keep your thinking cap on at all times so, when it’s all over, you’ll come forth with a big feather in your cap.