But on Sundays, all of that changed.
He would appear, dignified and tidy, in 'church' attire.
And a tie.
Usually, Dad chose his own ties.
He had good taste.
Well . . . conservative taste.
No garish patterns.
No fluorescent colours.
But one of his ties stands out in my memory.
One that . . . wasn't conservative.
It was a quiet, dark tie.
With tiny, white polka-dots.
He wore it for three years.
And that is hilarious.
Maybe I should explain . . .
One day, just after church, I was giving my dad a hug.
Something I did often.
But now I was getting tall enough that his tie and my eyes were pretty much on the same level.
I buried my face in his clean, white shirt.
Then I opened my eyes.
And saw . . . dots.
No . . . wait . . . they weren't dots.
They were . . . something else.
I grabbed his tie and examined it closely.
“Dad, do you know what's on this tie?”
“Polka-dots,” came the ready answer.
I lifted the end of the tie up to his face and held it there.
He looked. Then took the tie from me and looked again a bit more carefully. “Oh,” he said.
That tie he had been wearing for the past three years, teaching and/or officiating in church before lots and lots of people.
Well, the tiny, regular pattern?
It was playboy bunny heads.
Tiny little white playboy bunny heads.
My dad had been a leader in our local church congregation for three years . . .
Wearing a tie with playboy bunny heads on it.
I think he thought it was funny, too.
But the tie disappeared.
Where it ended up, only big brother, George, knows.
When he passed away, Dad still had quite a collection of ties.
But not one of them had polka dots.
Real or imagined.