You guys might be wondering why I’m wearing this coonskin hat. I am too. But ever since I put it on, I’ve had a strong desire to eat a trashcan and take over the world.
I still remember when I found this little road-kill toupee at a redneck lawn sale while driving through Davy Crockett’s hometown. It was in a garbage bag full of undershirts and mustard-stained tees. But I couldn’t resist.
Davy Crocket’s a coonskin cap legend. So I like to believe that this particular cap accompanied him on all his journeys, before going on to become the lone survivor of the Alamo and crawling its ring-tailed butt back to good ole’ Tennessee. Now it sits atop my brain cavity like a wise, old mountaintop.
Anybody who knows of Mr. Crockett knows he had quite the reputation for storytelling. The dude’s name was Crock, for crock’s sake. Plus he grew up in a country bumpkin town, a place where the imagination runs rampant. I should know. I grew up one country bumpkin town over from him.
In my country bumpkin town, you’ll find lots of cow fields and churches, with the occasional church in the middle of a cow field. We call them holy cows. Because jokes. There are about eight churches within five minutes of my mama’s house. All of them are very Southern and very Baptist. Not in a clap-happy type of way, but in a sit-still-through-this-next-three-hour-sermon type of way.
Sure, growing up in the Bible Belt may sound like a yawn waiting to happen for some. But it’s also the reason I can find potential in almost anything. I’ve been traveling to imaginary lands and making something out of nothing since I was a little dumplin’. I would float troublemaking pirates down the crick aboard plastic bottles; draw faces on balloons and fill them with soap-opera dramas; light Miss Piggy dolls on fire for the heck of it; hide from the Jehovah’s witnesses knocking on my door; pour sugar down an ant hill; rub mayonnaise on plants; sing from a stump top; and still find time to roller skate around the kitchen.
Down in country bumpkin town, they have a saying. “Don’t fergit whare yew come frum.” Which is another reason why I went and got myself this coonskin hat. Wearing a dead animal on your head is a solid reminder. This vintage-crafted crown not only represents the creativity that was crafted inside my dome throughout childhood. But it’s also as fuzzy and dark as my heritage.
That’s right, folks. Coonskin caps were a thing of the natives. And you’d never know it by looking at this pale, white skin my mother gave me, but I’m 1/8th Choctaw Indian. Which means I’m going to tell you about the oppression of my people and then make it rain, make it rain, make it rain. My great grandfather walked to Oklahoma and back before settling in good old country bumpkin town. And that’s where my family has lived ever since.
These days, when I go back, I’m reminded of a place where everyone talks the same, thinks the same, and holds the same beliefs. I guess it makes sense. We are all related. See what I did there? And while I can speak the Southern slang like the dickens, I can speak the Harbrace Handbook better. And that, my friends, is how I knew. I was never intended for any place quite so simple.
But I still wear this cap to bed every night and dream about “wrastling” bears and shooting unruly bad guys. Because I’m queen of the wild frontier and this here’s my crown. So pew pew pew, you dang Yankees. Shove this story up your fashionable hat and wear it.