“Here, Sis. Catch.” My brother, Mike, tossed something across the dining room.
Reacting fast, I hooked my hand through a flying gray cord and it looped around my wrist like a lasso. I stopped its spin and laid it out on the counter with care.
My dad’s old bolo tie.
“Don’t you want it?” I asked. Somebody should take it. The tie was a striking western accessory that my dad had worn often. It was still hard to part with his personal items, though he had passed away several years before. The task of disposing of them had been so daunting, we’d put it off again and again. Now, since our mother had moved to a full-time care facility, we needed to ready the house to rent.
“I’ve got plenty of Dad’s things to remember him by,” Mike said. “I’d never wear it.”
Actually, it didn’t look like my other brother’s style either. But just in case, I held it up and waved it at him. “Dan? What about you?”
He stopped stacking books in a box and glanced over, shaking his head. “No thanks, Sis. I’ve got Dad’s bomber jacket. That means more to me than anything. You take it.”
“Well….” I hesitated. What would I do with a bolo tie?
“You could hang it around the rear view mirror in your car,” Mike said.
Did I really want something swinging from my mirror? I mean, it wasn’t like a set of fuzzy dice or anything.
“Let me think about it.”
I placed the tie on my “possibly” pile and got back to work, joining family members as we sorted through a number of personal items – some to keep, some to store, and some for the Salvation Army.
At lunch time, we decided to go for hamburgers in town. As I reached for my purse, I noticed the bolo tie still coiled on the counter and grabbed it, too. Once in my car, I hung it around my rear view mirror, as my brother had suggested. A nice effect. It even matched the gray interior of my car. Maybe I would keep it after all.
We caravanned our cars over the rough road, the bumpy ride causing the tie to sway back and forth. Though I needed to pay attention to the pot holes, a scene from years past filled my mind instead. I envisioned my dad, taking his place in line behind my mother at a pancake breakfast. Wide-shouldered and straight, his six-foot frame towered over her five-foot-two petiteness. A dashing cowboy hat covered Dad’s thick white hair and his steel blue eyes were highlighted by the silvery gray of his bolo tie.
More than one woman gave him a second glance. And a third. None of these looks were lost on my mother, who secured his hand and looked up at him with a mixture of pride and possessiveness. He gave her a wink and a smile. To Dad, Mother was always the only woman in the room.
It was a sweet memory, especially now that he was gone. The tie evoked other memories, as well. Of dinners out and family reunions and snapshots of the handsome man I liked to call “The Silver Fox.”
I touched the tie as I drove, running my fingers up and down the cool cord, stopping at the silver slide. The setting featured a black background with a swordfish arced across the metal. It reminded me of my dad’s lifetime enjoyment of fishing – his hand-tied flies, tackle boxes, and humming reels. Boat rides across the lake and an Evinrude motor that ran smooth long after its heyday – another beneficiary of Dad’s talent for tinkering.
Rubbing the tie’s ribbed tips between my fingers, I sent a thank you heavenward for my dad. While passing through this life, he had also passed on his love of the outdoors to my brothers and to me. An inheritance more valuable than mere money.
And I offered gratitude for fond memories of a winsome, white-haired cowboy, unwittingly winning over all the ladies in the room, while wearing a bolo tie.