Big Black Bow Tie

A gentleman can never have too many bow ties                        Justin Timberlake

rocky after concert
This is a black bow tie, but not the one mentioned in the story. This one was purchased after the night in question.

We’d had our share of  bow tie piano recitals over the years. We’re not immune to tux wearing or dressing for special events.  Yet, somehow there was no black bow tie hidden in some obscure corner of a drawer.

My husband had been asked to play for an event on campus and the requirement was to wear a black bow tie, with the assumed black suit.  His professor said if he needed a bow tie he had extra’s and would loan him one.

So, ok, good, problem solved. Except.

The day of, not the day before, but the day of the concert Rocky finally went to Dr. S’s office to pick up the bow tie.  Turns out Dr. S could only find one (well, in addition to the one he needed to wear) and so that is the tie Rocky was given to wear….

Keep in mind I knew nothing of the specifics at this point so didn’t perceive that maybe I needed to intervene.   You know what they say about hindsight?   Well, with one absentminded professor and one absentminded doctoral student I should have known better.   I should have intervened.

We were on our way  to the concert with no time to spare and I happened to look back at my bow tie wearing husband on our way out the door and I lost it. Lost it, as in the gut-wrenching, can’t even, what in the world, belly laughing kind of losing it. Tears streaming.*

There he was all dressed in a nice black suit and crisp white tux shirt and one really gigantic black bow tie.  I mean the wingspan on that thing was worthy of a black bird or at the very least a large bat. We’re talking Orville  Redenbacher from the 1970’s huge!  Senior prom 1978 huge!   It was so noticeable that you really saw the tie more than you saw him.  He could have had dirt on his face and no one would have noticed it because you couldn’t get past the tie.

He had told me when Dr. S pulled the tie out of his briefcase – or was it a trumpet case – that he knew it was too large but it was the only choice.  I wondered out loud why he didn’t drive down the street to the S & K men’s store (literally a 10 minute drive) and buy one.**  I could have even stopped on my way home to pick one up for him. Alas, I should have known not to trust two music minded guys.

In my usual fashion of finding humor in most tragedies and trying to make the best of a less than perfect situation I told him all the encouraging things I could while all the while trying not to go into hysterical laughing mode.  I told him that he was probably ahead of the fashion trends.  That big bow ties were making a come back and he was ahead of the game.  I said he’d probably start a new wave of retro bow ties on campus. I also told him that we would only be seeing his side profile and that way it wouldn’t be as noticeable. (Lies, mostly lies)

I noticed as we walked to the concert that he held his music in such a way as to partially hide the tie without completely hiding his face.  He didn’t look too odd! Once there he pretty much stood around with his music held like a shield.  Again , he didn’t look too odd. (insert silent belly laughing)

After the intermission, he was finished (he played very nicely) and he joined me for the remainder of the concert.  The first thing I did when he sat down was……..

you guessed it!  I made him take off that Big Black Bow Tie!

Laughing in grace,


* I was laughing with him and not at him!  (Well, maybe a little bit at him!).

** For the record, he now owns a perfectly respectable black bow tie as evidenced in the picture at the top of the story. It is considerably smaller than the big black bow tie.

I wish I had taken a picture of him wearing that big black bow tie.


Prompted By Minnie Pearl


Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day. Earlier today, during a conversation with my mother, she brought up the straw hat with a dangling price tag, wearing Minnie Pearl.  She tells me she could be the next Minnie Pearl.  I have heard this for years.  


floralstrawhatHowwwwwwwwwdee!  So, my mom keeps telling me she could be Minnie Pearl.  We’ll be having a conversation in which she’ll say something funny that causes us to laugh. Then, Inevitably, she’ll comment, “I believe I could be…oh, what’s her name…she’s dead isn’t she”? I’ll say, “Minnie Pearl”? She’ll say “yeah, I could be her.”


She has actually told me this for years, well before the Alzheimer’s set in.  I find it comforting that of all the memories she is losing, she still retains the one about being Minnie Pearl.  That may not seem significant or even normal, but somehow for us, it is.

I wonder just what it is about Minnie Pearl that my mom identifies with.  Is it the clean humor? The infamous price tag? The clarion “Howdy”? The “I’m so Proud to be Here”? Is it an ideal? Does it remind her of a simpler time?  I think it is a combination of all these and I think it’s as much the person (interview at 2:45 on the video) behind the persona as it is the character.



Minnie Pearl gave us permission to laugh at ourselves.  She gave us permission to embrace our imperfections.  She graced us with the hallmark of simple, everyday life that aspired to live above the muck. Minnie Pearl, simply put, made us okay with being us. I think we can all relate to the human foibles she kindly poked fun at, that propel us through life.

The clear take away for me is a reminder to be me and not to take me so seriously. Enjoy life and quit trying to attain a perfection that was never meant to be mine. I think that is a lesson that my mom has learned through life events. She has learned to let go of perfect; she has learned to laugh at herself.  She has embraced an ordinary, everyday life with grace,character, strength, strong moral values, compassion and humor.  She has laced life with the gift of laughter.



Even now, with Alzheimer’s she knows the value of a good belly laugh and it’s power to heal.  She knows the value of not taking yourself too seriously. She knows the value of a well placed “Howwwwwwwdee, I’m so glad to be here.”

Leaving you with a grace-filled Howwwwwwdee,