When I hear the name “Stetson”, I think of two things– Heritage and The West.
My great grandfather, Gerald Dean, or as I knew him, “Papa”, wore a Stetson. The Open Road was his staple.
I have an image burned in my head of him sitting out on his front porch while smoking a pipe with his Open Road cocked slightly to the side similar to Hank Williams’ style.
When he passed away, I was lucky enough to be graced with his prized possession– his Stetson. My Great Grandmother knew just how much I was fascinated by it. Papa’s hat has seen a million miles. That’s my favorite thing about it (you can see it featured in many of my photos). It’s not just a hat. It’s a story. It’s a collection of memories. It’s a character in and of itself. Oh, If only it could talk, the stories it could tell.
I carry on that tradition now. Wherever I go, my Stetson goes with me making new memories and stories. Someday, maybe my son or great grandson can do the same thing I did. He can look at my hat and say, “oh, if only it could talk, the stories it could tell…”. Maybe he will carry on the tradition.
The New Mexico desert– it’s an unforgiving landscape out here peppered with tumbleweeds and yuccas. That’s why I love it. There’s a clarity to the barren landscape out here. There is nothing. Nothing and everything. This is where I found it. This is where I found freedom, meaning and purpose. This is my open road.
Photos: Robert Dean
Featuring: Colby Crain
Location: Southern New Mexico