Brimming with gimme caps

Even though my novel, The Big Empty, has a cowboy as a main character, I am not, by any means, a cowboy. I have lived in Texas for 45 years, and in all that time, I’ve never owned a pair of cowboy boots. 

But hats are another matter. In the book, I talk about the main character, Trace Malloy, wearing a gimme cap. My editor, who lives in eastern Pennsylvania, had never heard the term. (She also struggled with the term “bar ditch,” but that will have to wait for another post.)

Gimme caps were baseball-style hats emblazoned with company logos and given away as promotions. 

So I thought it might be interesting to create a gimme cap for the book. I considered replicating the Possum Kingdom Lake hat that Malloy wears, but those do — or at least did — exist, and I didn’t want to get into a trademark dispute with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 

So my publisher’s ace designers came up with a logo for the Conquistador Ranch, the setting for The Big Empty, and I found a company in Austin to print them. 

But in the process, I made a rather uncomfortable discovery. The hat you see above is no longer called a gimme cap, I was told. Instead, they are known as “dad hats.” 

Now, I am a dad, and I wear hats, including this one. But I also spend enough time on the internet to be familiar with terms like “dad bod” and “dad jokes,” which are not flattering terms. 

(In the case of the jokes, this is totally unfair. I mean, “cow farts are in the dairy air” or “if you find yourself in bear country, try to avoid a grisly outcome” — pure gold.) 

Anyway, I now have a bunch of these “dad” hats, and I say it’s time to get our gimme back.  

While my supply lasts, anyone who goes to Stoney Creek Publishing’s website and orders a signed copy of The Big Empty will get a Conquistador Ranch gimme cap — for free, as the name implies. These hats have an all-cotton exterior, adjustable leather back strap, and “cool crown” mesh technology inside that’s designed to keep your head cool and minimize staining — truly “upscale fashion headwear” as it says on the label. 

I bet Blaine Witherspoon wishes he’d had one instead of his helmet. 

Oh, and those signed copies of the book? At the moment, they’re 25 percent off. That’s right, a discounted, autographed book and a gimme cap. 

So read the book, and wear the hat. Then, when your friends see your striking headgear and ask where the Conquistador Ranch is, you can tell them it’s in the Big Empty and you’ve been there. 


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