Ode to the Tilley hat

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Got a Tilley hat? There might be a better hat to protect your noggin from those damaging rays from the sun, but if there is, Iím not aware of it.

This summer has been hot and sunny and those of us with a history of skin pre-cancers, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, and dreadful melanomas must certainly limit our exposure to solar radiation. Unless you never leave your cave, this also means you.

Last week I spent several days in the Spotted Bear area of the Flathead South Fork. I saw bareheaded anglers, fishermen wearing baseball caps, and rafters playing the role in summer cowboy hats.

Pretty much the same on local golf courses. Bareheads, baseball caps, a few lightweight, wide-brimmed hats. And plenty of bare arms and shorts.

We donít have to look like Casper the Ghost and bundle up like the Michelin Man, but to this writer who spends most of his time out-of-doors, it makes more sense to cover up and glob on the sunscreen than to face the scalpel of the dermatologist.

Two years ago, I not only faced the scalpel but underwent a topical cream treatment which removed the outer layers of skin from my face. Neither was a pleasant experience.

That year, my brother gave me a Tilley hat for a Christmas present. He told me many of his friends had them.

Tilley hats arenít cheap, but they are lightweight, SPF 50-plus, have a chin strap, come in many styles and colors, and really do let sweat evaporate..

Iíve worn mine for two years for fishing, hiking, golfing, and all activities under the sun. Iíve washed it in the washing machine many times and it still looks great.

Matter of fact, I bought an additional Airflo last winter so I had a hat that was always clean, but I havenít even worn it yet.

Medical people tell us the effects of sun exposure are cumulative. Sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, face-covering buffs, sunglasses, and common sense will help minimize the potentially damaging rays of the sun.

Check www.tilley.com. Available locally.

Jerry Smalleyís Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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