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Face Mask   

Jane McCone 

Everyone is wearing masks, well, nearly everyone. Sometimes I just do not know what to think about it. Every woman with a sewing machine is busy making them to donate to some nursing home or hospital or friends. The elastic ear pieces caused the market on elastic to skyrocket.  There was a quick shortage until sewers found ways to improvise – using hair bands, or taking apart bungie cords. When everyone started finding their stashed elastic the price really dropped. Now you can purchase Cadillac masks with pockets, vents and an assortment of ties or ear loops. Those rascals are not so easy to make, lots of double fabric that is rough on a sewing machine.  

We should not be so surprised about face masks though. We have been using them for a long time. When the auto first developed women had long drappy scarves attached to their oversized hats and when the fumes and dust from the open car overwhelmed them they draped the scarf about their faces. 

Zorro wore a mask. The Lone Ranger work a mask. Batman did. Jason wore a mask and Freddy Kruger did not but he should have. But back even farther is my favorite masks of all.  The Bandana. Cowboys had them as a very important part of their attire. They wore them tied around their necks with the knot in back. When riding at the rear of a herd of cattle, or drag, it got very dusty and they would just pull the bandana up over their nose and mouth as protection.  If they were out in the hot sun working they often wet the bandana and covered their head or face to cool down. Sometimes a damp bandana across their shoulders help protect from the sun.  

We see that cowboy bandana as a red print, still popular today. That print, often with some paisley, came from India on large pieces of colored silk. The design eventually made it to red cotton and onto the range. And, of course, we have all seen the old cowboy shows where the bandana graces a bank robber’s face as he scampers out of town. Or even when one is used to tie off a bullet wound or brace a broken bone.  

I say, let’s all wear red bandanas. Those staples of our history will work well. Fold them like a triangle for double fabric protection and tie them on. The good thing about this sort of mask is it will also keep the trail dust out of your mouth, and if you are around people, they may not recognize you.  And, if you need to blow your nose. . . oh, never mind.