Hats come out on Easter Sunday

Published 6:16 pm Saturday, April 11, 2009

Doris Ware-Henderson remembers when only she and one other member of Hopewell Baptist Church wore hats on Sundays.

But when Ware-Henderson shows up at today’s Easter service underneath a pink hat with lots of lace, she will be one among many churchgoers who have realized the importance of a hat.

“More people are wearing them now,” Ware-Henderson said. “I just feel like you’re not dressed up if you don’t wear a hat. That’s just me.”

Ware-Henderson estimates she owns 150 hats, most of which have been given to her as gifts and have come from places like Atlanta and Chicago. Ware-Henderson said she used to buy hats in Clanton, but none of the stores carry her kind of hat anymore.

She has also worn hats in places where the look was unfamiliar.

“Did you know they don’t wear hats in California?,” Ware-Henderson asked. “I went to a church out there and wore a hat, and the preacher had me stand up and said he wanted me standing with him by the door after church. I got to looking around, and no one else had a hat on.”

Though Ware-Henderson said every woman needs a hat, not every hat is for every woman.

“Everybody’s got different styles,” she said. “Some people don’t want to wear big hats; I don’t wear small hats.

“You’ve got to know how to wear a hat. You can’t just throw it on your head.”

Ware-Henderson takes most of her hat philosophy from a book she picked up many years ago, titled “Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.” An excerpt is:

“Church folk like to hug, but there’s a certain way to hug a woman in a hat. You can’t get all up on her, grabbing her around the neck…Both people have to tilt their heads way to the side, in opposite directions, and leave a little space between you…Over the years, you learn ways to keep your hat on your head.”

Ware-Henderson has no problem keeping her hat on her head because she’s had plenty of experience.

Easter is a special day, but every Sunday deserves a hat.