The Lucky Tie (the quiet love of a father for his son)

It was black with white polka dots and made of silk. It was tied around the neck of a photographer when he was recording the most joyous moments in young couples lives – their weddings. He insisted on wearing it even though, at times, it did not match the clothes he was wearing. I say insisted because his wife and son would often tell him that he could look better in another, that it was to plain, that he was an artist and his clothes should reflect his art, that it did not match, that is was the same tie he wore every time and that he could afford another. But, he said, “It’s my lucky tie (with a smile). What, you don’t like it? I like it and I am going to wear it. Come on, we better get going.”

What do you tell a guy that is supposed to be an artist photographer when his tie doesn’t match? The answer is you try, you fail and you think he is stubborn and hard headed. I guess when you take pictures as long as he did you just go with it. He was taking pictures in his twenties. His Dad and his Grand Dad took pictures too. Heck, they spread emulsion on glass plates the night before and loaded the plates in big cases to carry them to the job the next day. That was his Dad and Grand Pa. It is an understatement to say he took pictures for about 60 years. He was born into photography, raised a family in photography and was always quietly behind the camera.

A gentleman wears a neck tie. That is what his father taught him and he did just that – wear a tie. He employed photographers and gave them their start. When he hired a photographer the first thing to be done, as a tradition, was to buy the young man a suit with a tie at Dick Fessel Men’s Store. It was a profession of honor. You were the one that could capture the smile just right and create a memory that would last forever. As he took them, he understood that the picture would be looked at years later and cherished and it would be a good one. His success led him to have a very good life with a beautiful wife and three sons, Mike, John and Tom.

It was a quiet love that he had for his sons. I suppose it was quiet because he was happy with it. But, don’t kid yourself, it was a deep love. When he said something he meant it. He could back up his promises and he took them very seriously. And, he loved his work. Especially, when he wore his lucky tie. How long did he wear that tie? Let’s see, 1990 something to perhaps about 2008, 2009 or 2010. It is hard to believe, but it still looks good. I mean it has no signs of age really. Not like some neck ties that are thin and seem to begin to wrinkle, get twisted, or the neck tie loop that serves as a label on the back tears or wears out. Certainly, he wore out before that tie did wear out. Because he passed in December 2010. Just days after his son John passed unexpectedly on Thanksgiving.

So, why was that tie so lucky? Why did he think he was so lucky to wear it? It was simple really. Love, it was love. Quiet love. There was nothing on that polka dot tie – just small, perfect-patterned, evenly spaced, white dots on black silk. Turn it over and the label says, “Jonathan”, his son.

The Lucky Tie (the quiet love of a father for his son)

Thomas Spieth

Dallas, United States

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The Lucky Tie. A symbol of a father’s quiet love for a son.

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