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Sat., Jan. 24, 2009, 8:42 a.m.

Changing trends in fashion…

Aretha Franklin's hat at the Inauguration ceremonies... (The Spokesman-Review)
Aretha Franklin's hat at the Inauguration ceremonies... (The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...

When I was a young man just beginning the transition toward adulthood, I occasionally attended an African American church, primarily because of the incredibly-powerful oratory of their pastor, the late Reverend Bill Saugus. Reverend Saugus had the ability, using the inflection and volume of his voice, to bring members of his congregation right down front and center before Satan. After all, he stated on numerous occasions, we are a pretty dismal bunch, full of iniquity and sin, and he set about describing all of our collective sins in intimate detail each Sunday.

I will never forget his flowing, abundantly rich oratory as he described how utterly depraved with sin we are, and how the Devil is no further away than that bottle, that illicit relationship or turning a blind eye to stealing from your neighbors. He always cast knowing looks around the congregation, as if picking out certain individuals who might be committing transgressions as he spoke.

However, what stands out taller in my memory, perhaps, than his raging against Satan's power, was the implausible celebration of light, color, texture and size that took place among his female parishioners on most holidays, but especially Easter Sunday. Plumes, jewels, feathers, boas, ribbons and lace adorned women's hats as never before on Easter Sunday. Sitting there, in my back-row pew, I was furthermore amused as most of the women who truly had gone off the edge with their headgear were covertly looking around the other members of the congregation, assessing and measuring each other with a critical eye.

I was reminded of that time long ago during the Inauguration of President Barack Obama when the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin nearly stole the entire show with her hat. Discerning women desirous of obtaining a copy of Aretha Franklin's incredible bejewled hat have no further to look than on Woodward Avenue in far-off Detroit, Michigan. However, be sure to bring your wallet, as purchasing a replica of Aretha Franklin's outstanding hat will cost you upwards of $500.

Those are, according to one of my sources, “ women's hats” and that if I truly want to see one of these magnficent pieces of adornment now, all I have to do is go to The Golden Corral restaurant on Easter Sunday morning.

Do modern-day white women wear such incredible hats? I don't know. What I do know is that the Queen of Soul did her heritage one better at the Inauguration.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.