It’s a curious thing that I have a sizable chunk of my father’s ties. The tie certainly wasn’t a fashion accessory he wanted me wearing when I was a teen and ties for all genders were slung loose around any neck that would hold them. I have a distinct memory of him telling me to “take that damn thing off”, probably in favor of something slightly more demure. He hoped. He didn’t always get, but he hoped all the same.
No, the ties, they were for the boys. I also remember him loaning ties to my brothers for weddings or holiday visits to the family or…events? I don’t know. Events. I just know that every so often I’d hear my father say, “You know, [insert brothers’ names here, it could have been any of them], you really ought to wear a tie.” And off they’d go together, to the side of the closet that always smelled vaguely of Lava soap and Pierre Cardin cologne, and they’d find something appropriate for Cousin Mabel’s wedding.
I don’t have a cousin Mabel. But you get the point.
And it’s funny that my father had a bunch of ties. He was a construction worker by day, so…not a lot of tie-wearing on a work site, unless you wanted to gamble with your larynx. By night, though, he was the town councilman, and he thought it was important to dress the role. Respect the job, the job will respect you, that sort of thing. Plus, appearances were important and he was a handsome man, so cleaning up and stepping out in snappy threads was important to him. It’s important to a lot of us.
I came by his ties by attrition. I was working in a restaurant, and needed ties for the job. He’d long since retired from both the construction job and the town council. My brothers had their own ties (or were decidedly tieless). Pop’s ties hung forgotten in the back of the closet. I mentioned needing ties for work and not realizing how expensive they can be and he said, “Hey, kid, why don’t you take mine? I don’t need them any more.” So I took them. I think I took them all because he was done wearing any of them. They became a daily part of my work gear, and I always mentioned my dad if anyone complemented my attire.
Now they hang in my closet. And that won’t do.
It would be much more full-circle-y if he was wearing this tie in this picture, but man…I have a lot of pictures of my dad. And frankly, matching the tie isn’t as important to me as remembering the man, who’s been gone a little over seven years now. I have his eyes, his nose, his sense of right and wrong, some accessories, and my memories. Welcome to My Father’s Ties.