"Was it a holiday, Mom?"
"Well, it could have been. But it might have been Saturday night, or Sunday dinner. That was just the way you dressed to go to someone's home."
"What year was it?
"That year was the likely late 60's."
"Always a coat and tie on Granddad?"
"Oh yes, always."
That's my pretty Mama and my Grandfather. She is trying to protect his jacket. He is probably trying to shoo her off. He did not care if we made him a mess. But if he was, he was still going to be in a jacket.
These are both of my Grandfather's. Patrick, of Ireland, left. Harold, of Britain, right. I unearthed a stack of pictures of them seated at dinner tables, always next to one another, always in a coat and tie. I think maybe you can see, only gently so in their silvery years, they were both devastatingly handsome men. You know Red (Harold) if you have been around here a while, if not you might go by and get to know him. He always wore a coat and tie, I mean, always. Patrick, if you went around to see him at the house on the hill, you might find him in a wool sweater but nearly always a jacket otherwise.
It's the educated opinion of that silly girl front right that this was likely New Years Day dinner. Here you can truly see the next generation taking a casual step: My Father and Uncle are in shirtsleeves where my Grandfather's never took off their coats. I am guessing that my Mother prevailed in my Brother wearing a coat that night, as it seems my Dad would not have put Chris in one if he were not in one himself. Although, that is pure speculation.
I am really reaching now, but like most house people I'll more likely remember the year the couch was reupholstered in that gorgeous green velvet (which seems like 1987) than have been the type to remember to ask someone the year then scribble it on the back of the picture. Patrick is gone by the time this was taken but my Grandfather Harold rolled to ninety-three years of age; a coat and tie every step of the way.
(The dog? The family blue tick hound, appropriately named Blue. He was a benevolent creature when he was not wandering busily for miles or lazing away afternoons sleeping on his back in the sunshine at the flagpole in the center of town, to be rounded up in the late afternoons and driven home by the ever-patient local police. Sorely missed.)
Even on vacation, coat and tie; his cap kindly lent to Chris. Seaton Caru, England. Ca. 1983
The other day a friend asked me for a restaurant recommendation for a place in New York. When he asked what he should wear, I answered, a sport coat - at least. "Because it is special occasion restaurant?"
"No. Because it's dinner."