I could cut a dashing figure at one time. I sort of enjoyed dressing up in my younger days. I wasn’t the best at coordinating things, but with the help of female friends and family, I didn’t do badly. Plus, some of my clothes, I bought from a cousin that had a clothing store and he had a good eye for color and knew what was in style far better than I did. Between them all, I had a limited, but good-looking wardrobe.
Times have changed, and so have I. Now that I’m old and arthritic, I go for what feels good on my over-weight, achy old body. I wear blue-jeans, colored tee-shirts and a pair of L.L. Bean camp mocs as my “uniform” of laid-back lifestyle. I don’t own a single pair of slacks. I DO have a very expensive wool suit that I wore only a handful of times before outgrowing it. I have a couple dress shirts, two ties and a couple pair of dress socks to go with it. I need to find someone who can use the suit so that it won’t go to waste by just taking up space in my closet. One of the ties is a cheap but attractive polyester wonder that looks like silk, but feels like barbed-wire. The other is an expensive silk tie that even at half-off cost five times what the polyester one did. I’m tempted to keep that one.
I had to ask myself why I desired to keep something that I would probably never use. It took me a while to figure it out. It takes me back. The beautiful colors and slippery texture remind me of the ties that used to hang in Dad’s closet. He probably had two or three dozen or so big, wide silk ties. They were out of style when I was little—temporarily replaced by skinny little fabric bits of nothingness. Still, he chose to leave those silken beauties in the closet and use the clip-on, barely belt-width strips of polyester then popular. Looking back, I sort of wish that he’d stuck his thumb in the eye of “style” and wore those classy old ties to his heart’s content.
I remember having a certain fascination with those ties when I was little. Sometimes, when he’d left his closet door open, I’d take a good look at the ties and feel the smoothness of the silk. Some were big, flowery prints, some were simple stripes, and a few were variations of paisley. Quite a few, though, were beautiful scenes of Pacific islands, perhaps bought in memory of his time spent there during World War II. Those were my favorites. He lived long enough to see wide ties come back in style for a while. He’d wink and quote the old saying, “All things old are new again.” He didn’t wear the ones with the island scenes, though; I guess he figured that their time was gone.
A few years after Dad passed away, Mom asked if I wanted the ties. Wistfully, I thought of my limited storage and declined. She gave them to the Salvation Army, where I’m sure they were probably bundled up and sold as rags. I wish now that I’d kept them. If nothing else, they’d have made a nice wall-hanging for the bedroom! So, do I keep the one tie as reminder of the old days, or just in case I should need a tie one more time before I croak? That sounds silly when I put it on paper. I can recall Dad’s beautiful ties without a prompt for my memory. Plus, if I’m ever so insane as to be tempted to wear a monkey suit again, I can just have my wife shoot me. © 2013-