Bought me a new hat a couple of weeks ago. A nice dress Western hat. Black felt. Tried it on, of course, and it fit perfectly.

I watched the young man behind the counter steam and shape it to my specs. Folks who do such as that are called "hatters."

When that was done, the hat didn't seem to fit quite as well, but the young man convinced me that once the moisture from the steam, used to soften the felt for shaping, was out of the hat, it should fit fine.

It didn't. And it bothered me.

Around midnight a few nights ago I was lyin' in my bed, thinkin' about that hat. Did you know you can find all KINDS of interesting stuff on YouTube? I came to the computer and found a video of an older fella showing how to make a cowboy hat fit at home.

He explained that the inside of most hats is made round and most heads aren't. They're oval. Here's how ya fix that.

All you need is a whistlin' tea kettle (for steam, obviously) and a special hat-stretching tool. You simply steam the felt around the perimeters of the hat and put the stretcher inside, with pressure to the front and back of the hat, ultimately producing a "long oval." I HAVE a tea kettle, but I DON'T have a hat-stretcher. No problem. Since I want the hat to fit my head, I'll just get the thing steamed up real good and push it down on my head. When it cools, it should fit.

Mind ya, it's now past midnight, and I'm in my kitchen firin' up a kettle of water on the stove, excited about the prospects of havin' a hat that fits properly in just a few minutes.

I steamed the hat up and pushed it down on my head. My son, Reid, is staying with me for a bit while he finishes up some engineering degree stuff at Tarleton. He'd already gone to sleep, but the whistlin' tea kettle woke him up.

I was still facing the stove, so I wasn't aware that he'd come around the corner to see what was going on. I just heard him ask, "Dad, what are you DO-in'?!?!"

I turned to look at him, still pressing my Stetson down firmly on my head so as to not lose the shape I was shootin' for. Reid had the funniest look on his face as I explained the procedure. A bit later I realized why he looked so puzzled as he said, "Okay, well it's 12:15. I'm goin' back to bed."

I'm guessin' it COULD be a bit strange to a son for him to wake up after midnight to a screamin' tea kettle, make his way to the kitchen and find his dad standing there lookin' at the kettle, wearing gym shorts - and a cowboy hat.

But the hat fits nicely.

Life's an adventure. I'm livin' it up!

Randy McLelland, a.k.a. Randy Mac, is senior pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church on FM 202. He plays the role of "Grandpa" in The Promise and, through his "Livin' It Up" ministries, is a motivational speaker and Christian entertainer. He can be reached at or 817-454-3386; his Web site address is