Those who wait

Mark Green
Mark Green

“All things come to those who wait.” This expression is attributed to Lady Mary Montgomerie Currie, an English poetess who died in 1905. I cannot say that it is absolutely true in every aspect of life, but it certainly was the case with my late father in matters of fashion.

There are those who are fashion setters. Daddy certainly was not one of those. Hardly anyone paid attention to his mode of attire unless it was to make snide comments about it.

There are those who are fashion followers. Daddy was not one of those, either. He absolutely could not have cared less what other folks were wearing. He was his own man, and if other folks did not like what he was wearing, they could go scratch themselves.

I suppose you have noticed that if fashion is anything, it is always expensive. Supply and demand. Things in fashion are the things everyone wants, and when everyone wants them, the price goes up, often beyond all reason.

Daddy did not care if everyone else liked a style. What he liked were things that were cheap. It is things that are out of style that are cheap. Cheap was always “in style” with Daddy. One of his greatest thrills in life was to go to a yard sale and buy a bunch of stuff at bargain basement prices – whether he needed them or not. Someone would use them sooner or later.

Daddy was the sort of guy who would have bought up a bunch of O.J. Simpson designer shoes right after the famous trial. It is possible he did not even know who Simpson was, but he would not have cared, as long as his shoes were cheap enough. “But Daddy, that guy was accused of murder. Do you really want to be wearing his shoes?” “Why not? I got them at a great price.”

As I said, Daddy was neither a fashion leader nor a fashion follower. He was a fashion waiter. Since he cared nothing about being in fashion, he would just dress like he wanted to, and sooner or later that would become trendy.

Take ties as an illustration of that principle. During the 1940s, men’s dress ties became ridiculously wide and loud. Daddy had a whole drawerful of them. When we were children in the 1960s and ties became very narrow, he went blissfully on his way, still wearing those old, wide, loud ties.

Sure enough, in the 1970s ties became wide again and Daddy was back in style. And think of all the money he saved, because he did not have to rush out and buy a lot of those expensive, fashionable wide ties, because he still had that drawer full of those original World War II examples.

I do not keep up too much with fashion. I just wear whatever my wife buys for me and let it go at that. But I think I remember that wide ties came back into style a third time during Daddy’s lifetime, and he was still wearing his original batch.

I do not remember if they put a tie around Daddy’s neck in the casket, but if they did I hope it was wide. It might have been out of style, but he would not have cared. He was not a leader nor a follower in matters of fashion. He was a waiter. Just wear what you want to, be patient, and let the styles come to you.