My dad worked in four rural towns, Jansenville, Humansdorp, Ceres and Herbertdale. He had a collection of ties for every occasion, and it was part and parcel of being a 'dominee' (minister). And so it came that we also gave him ties for almost every birthday.
It was always a mission with my mom to look for the 'most fitting' ties in Cape Town when we traveled 'stad toe' (into town) from 'die platteland' (rural parts). My dad treasured his ties, and I remember how he had them neatly sorted by color and shape - thin to broad - in his closet in the master bedroom - smelling like Old Spice and leather. Almost the entire tie history behind those doors: if I read about these ties, I recognize almost all of them, from the wider ties with their patterns to the skinny leather ties .... hehehe
I vaguely remember him teaching my brother how to do the perfect knot as I sat on the bed and giggled. All such good memories.
Most of these colorful ties are still hanging neatly in his closet at our beach house, and I could not bring myself to pack them away yet. It is a bit absurd I guess, and it has been almost 5 years since he got so sick and passed on less than a year later. But I did manage to give some away to a staff member working in Khayelitsha a few months ago - and I smiled when he came to a meeting with a matching tie this month.
Today, I saw his Face Book picture with another one of my dad's favorites. He used to wear it on the pulpit with his black suit custom-made by hand by a kind muslim man in Woodstock. I know my dad would have approved, because he simply was not tied down to earthly things; he just loved his ties while here. Maybe it is time that I give away the other ties as well... We should not be tied down so.