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By Staff | Dec 19, 2014

We just finished a sad week around here. My wife’s younger-by-two-years sister passed away on a Sunday afternoon after a 19-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease that debilitated her.

Her funeral was held the following Friday as relatives had to travel from other parts of the country to attend the service.

We traveled to central Minnesota on Thursday for a family gathering that evening.

My normal attire is jeans, a western-style shirt that is red or a shade of red with short or long sleeves depending on the season, and suspenders.

On Sunday mornings I trade the jeans and suspenders for dress pants when I get dressed for church, but still have a shirt in some shade of red.

However, for my sister in law’s funeral, I wanted to wear formal clothing which meant that I pack a suit coat and tie to go along with my dress pants. I have a dress shirt that works with everything, but is not red.

I believe the suit coat was bought new for my dad’s funeral in 1999 as the suit I bought for our wedding in 1993 had gotten smaller. Okay, actually, I had gotten larger which is a testament to my wife’s cooking ability.

I wear it so seldom that is now my funeral suit.

The shoulders had a layer of dust that I had to brush off since the last funeral of more than a year ago.

One of the pockets had a bulge and I saw it had a stack of paper in it. When I took the papers out, they were from years and years of funerals I had worn this suit coat to and put them in the pocket making quite a collection.

I bet I am not the only man that does this. In fact, I bet my behavior is fairly common.

When we were at the family gathering the next day, my wife’s brother pulled papers from his suit coat pocket and sure enough, they were the folders from the funerals he had attended.

My sister-in-law’s eulogy was delivered by her brother-in-law on her husband’s side of the family, a retired Methodist minister.

He apologized for wearing a suit coat without a tie as he told that after wearing ties for years, upon retirement, he had thrown them all away because he was done with them.

I am not sure how exactly he meant it, but I assumed he looked at his ties as a form of bondage to his work and with retirement this was a way of expressing his freedom.

A lot of suits and ties were there that day, befitting the occasion and as an act of respect.

And I am sure by that evening, a lot of suits and ties were back on hangers with another funeral brochure in the pocket to go with the other ones, ready to be worn for the next funeral.

I actually enjoyed wearing my suit coat, dress shirt, and tie that day. It made me think of my dad and his generation who dressed formally at least every Sunday morning.

So I’ll keep my suit coat for quite a few more years and use it when needed. I’ll keep my ties too as some of them came from my dad.

I am going to have to adjust downward the portions of my wife’s cooking though.

Otherwise, it will be a trip to be fitted for a new suit coat at the local tent and awning.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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