All hat, no cattle is a contemporary phrase describing someone who’s showy, but lacking in substance. The saying is used to describe a person who talks big about a subject, but when pressed, can’t convey solid information or skills. There’s some dispute about the origins of the axiom, with some suggesting that it’s an old Texas adage, and others mistakenly linking it to the 1978-1991 television program, Dallas. The earliest verified notation of All hat, no cattle is in the March 1944 issue of Agricultural Leaders’ Digest 25, No. 3, with possible earlier references.
My twist on the pithy proverb is this: all hat (sepal), no petal.
The hat, in the form of the poppy’s sepals, is not quite doffed for the as-yet-unfurled petals. It’s a flower, but a flower currently unable to deliver its goods–it’s a flower wanna be, with promises of produce, but lacking in freight.
Here, the sepals are gone, having drifted away with a puff of breeze or the pull of gravity; no doubt they rest nearby.
The petals are opening for business, the flower awaiting its pollinators.
But peering into the heart of this poppy, there is no phony, fake entity; pollen and nectar are in place, ready for action.
The insect work of pollination and resulting future bloom procreation, will continue.
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