Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Neckties and Catholic Farmers

Recap.  I live on someone else's farm.  I farm that far.  [I love verb nouns.]  I am a serf. We also have very little.  Suburbia took a lot out of me, but it also gave me, in a cruel exchange, interest rates to remember it by.  What a bitch.

Sorry about that...

BUT, as we have less, we do have so much more.  I'm aware of the cliche here, but it is a rare one that is true. The simpler things get, the simpler they are.  But there's one thing I will not get rid of even though in the country I will very rarely need (save for the day Catholic culture is really pumping again).

Neckties.  I have a ton of them.  I love neckties.  Bowties too.  I have collected them over the years from the treasure chest that is the thrift store.  I learned slowly how to spot the best of the best, and I bet now my collection would be retailed at huge sums.  Now, my collection is probably a bit strange, and that's another reason to keep them, but when I meet or srumble upon websites of Catholic farmers, its interesting to me that most of them wear a tie to mass at the least and often even work in a tucked in shirt (formality in our day).  They might be some of the only ones at mass in a suit.  You would think that farmers, rought, dirty, earth-worn that they are, would care little for the city-like, superfluous necktie.  Yet, I would say the necktie is the perfect symbol for a farmer, because its in the same vein as the very reason he farms.

First, lets make sure we get this straight.  Clothes do matter.  As Mark Twain said, clothes may not make the man, but I've never seen a naked man in power.  Even at their dirtiest, they can present more than you might think.

The necktie.  Usually part of the traditional suit, which derives from centuries of transforming army digs into civilian digs.  Men wore suits because their grandfathers did.  Tradition was excepted and respected as each one assumed the general outlay, slowly learning how his own style would develop within the framework of tradition.  Learn the rules and respect them and only then make it your own.  The getup was old and the expression was new.  Colors and textures went with different occasions and seasons.  There were rules, which were breakable only because they were so firm.  It was full of ceremony, personal expression, tradition and general respect for an inherited culture.

Sounds like a farm to me.  A great tradition that must be renewed with each farmer in his own expression; full of necessary and unnecessary beauty, respectful of tradition and the ceremonies of the seasons. 

If this seems like a stretch, here's how I can prove it.  Next time you're at mass, ask the men in ties if they have a vegetable garden.  I bet they do.  They might just be a farmer. 

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