Keep This Under Your Hat

"It was a most forlorn and desolate-looking metropolis," Albert D. Richardson wrote in Beyond the Mississippi: From the Great River to the Great Ocean, of his trip to Denver in 1859. "If my memory is faithful, there were five women in the whole gold region; and the appearance of a bonnet in the street was the signal for the entire population to rush to the cabin doors and gaze upon its wearer as at any natural curiosity."

Not that there was anything natural about the polyester, Sun Bonnet Sue-style bonnet I managed to find for today's taping of a special Channel 12 show that moves the cast of Colorado Inside Out back to the Denver of 150 years ago. (It airs at 8 p.m. Thursday.) But at least I now understand where the creators of South Park got their inspiration for those tunnel-vision parkas -- even if I don't see this bonnet stopping traffic anytime soon.-- Patricia Calhoun