Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Daddy Diaries: The Winnie the Pooh Tie

The last time I got a chance to see my dad, I learned something. Something important.

We had returned from the chapel after my nephew's baptism - a significant and highly anticipated event for our family. And that is when I saw it - The Winnie the Pooh tie. My dad was wearing it. I snickered a little. It was not the first time I had noted my father's selection of that particular tie for a special family occasion;

I reflected on how deliberate his choice was, and what he was thinking as he laid out all the items he would pack for the trip. Many trips. I thought upon how funny, peculiar and quirky my dad was; how very "Dad" to grab the teddy bear tie for occasions that were often very formal;

(click to enlarge, you can just make out Winnie - yet again being sported - on my wedding day)

I couldn't resist commenting on this undeniable pattern, it was amusing me too much...and so I made some remark about it, with a clear air of teasing. I remember I pressed further (with others listening now), "Because you always wear it, to family events...don't you? I'm sure of it - that you look on your hanger and see that tie and think, 'This, this is the right tie for this occasion.'" My dad smiled knowingly in reply.

After a careful pause, he spoke; "You're right. You're right! I do always wear it...to family events when I know you'll be there." He smiled still.

I'm sure I look confused. Had he been playing me this whole time? Was this some private joke, Dad had, wherein I was the butt? He knew the tie was a little silly, he knew I'd notice, and he had been waiting all these years for me to say something...to see how long I could keep quiet???

Seeing my expression, Dad added, "I wear it, because you gave it to me."

That, I met with silence.

And that is how a simple repeated act of apparent whimsy, playfulness and peculiarity transformed into a ritual filled with warmth, history, and parental affection.
A.k.a. How I went from jester to dufus in under 10 seconds.

Dad, you are a very sweet man. I love you.
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