Busted hat tells many a tale
YOU can leave your hat on.
Joe Cocker said that, and Evan McCosh has been doing exactly that with his legendary “busted hat” for 47 years.
He first wore the 1896-model Lord Baden-Powell felt hat when he was a young Scout in 1970, when his parents presented him with what was a pride and joy piece of headwear.
Since then it has been burnt, worn for days on end fishing, hiking and at the beach ... and has been with him to Mt Everest base camp.
Last Christmas the hat was “retired” after a Christmas outing to Tallebudgera, but don’t be surprised if it comes out of retirement again this December.
Mr McCosh, who lives at Flinders View, entered his tried and true hat in the Ipswich Show’s “busted hat” category, achieving second place.
“I was 13 years old when I got the hat with a whole brand new Scouts uniform,” he recalled.
“You were proud as punch because you were going to Scouts, after going to Cubs for four years.
“But a couple of years later it got burnt.”
Mr McCosh’s wife Robyn has written a brilliant poem about the hat, based on the information her husband gave her, and one of the stanzas refers to the “war wound” it received.
It goes like this:
For many years I wore it as a Scout
There are lots of stories I can tell you about.
One such story, happened only after two years
Raising just one, of my greatest fears...
Mr McCosh picks up the story, while pointing to the hole on the brim.
“It was at a Silkstone Scout fete on a Saturday afternoon,” he said.
“Everyone panicked and pulled all the stalls down and packed everything away, and I threw the hat down to the side near the barbecue.
“In the wind a coal got blown out of the barbecue and landed on my hat.
“Later, when I saw it, the hat stunk. And it stunk for years after because of the burning felt.”
The young McCosh knew that his working class parents couldn’t afford to replace it, being an expensive hat.
So he kept wearing it, and wearing it, and wearing it.
Robyn’s poem takes up the story:
Whether it be wind, rain or sun protection
This hat has provided it all, just to mention
Used for many activities such as mowing and skiing
It has played a big part of my true well being.
Mr McCosh wore the hat wherever he went, for shade.
It went with him to Mt Everest base camp with a group of trekkers.
He wore it to Double Island Point on beach trips.
Reluctantly, Mr McCosh realised last Christmas that his hat was just about to split in two.
His wife bought him a new hat, and old trusty went in a special place.
“It hangs in my shed now,” he grinned.
“But I can still wear it if I really need to.
“I have fought tooth and nail to keep that hat.
“It has been such a part of my life. It brings back so many good memories. I can go through a thousand things thinking about that hat.
“I used to take it to squash tournaments, because it was the only hat I ever had.”
It was Robyn who suggested her husband enter the hat in the Ipswich Show.
“She saw it advertised and said ‘You have got the winning hat surely’,” he said.
“I thought ‘Why not?’” Robyn writes her husband’s farewell to the hat in the last two lines of her poem:
I am sure we will meet again in heaven
Goodbye, from your best friend EVAN.
But maybe that farewell is a bit premature.
“Where it is in my shed, I see it every time I walk in,” Mr McCosh said.
“If I am getting all my gear down to go away for Christmas, there is every chance it will go in with my gear - just so I can hang it in the annexe at the caravan park.
“Everyone recognises me there, just because of that hat.”
When you see this busted hat on the horizon, you certainly know who is under it.
To borrow wife Robyn’s words, and put them in her husband’s voice:
“I cannot bring myself to lay it to rest.
“My hat to me, will always be the best.”
Do you have a hat that looks like it survived a nuclear holocaust, or at the very least 20 or 30 years worth of sweat, drench and cow poo? Send photos of your prized busted hat and a few related tales about it to email@example.com.
BRAND NEW: Evan McCosh in 1970, the day he received his new Scouts hat.
Evan McCosh wearing his Scouts hat while relaxing.
Evan McCosh with his entry into the Ipswich Show Busted Hat category.
Evan McCosh wearing his Scouts hat at his wedding rehearsal in Brown's Park.
Evan McCosh wearing his Scouts hat at Double Island Point.
Evan McCosh wearing his Scouts hat fishing.