Father’s Cufflinks

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Cufflinks come in pairs.

They can be silver, gold or cheap metal that looks like gold or silver. They can be cheap and cheesy or expensive and classy. They can have hinges, chains or be a single solid. They can have shiny semi-precious stones or a pretend family crest or snooty school seal. I have seen so many cufflinks.

My father wore cufflinks with all his shirts. My father’s were all simple, understated, and surely expensive.

The important thing about this piece of information is that he had shirts that required cufflinks! All his shirts required cufflinks. He did not have some shirts of different fabrics and colors and styles. All his shirts were identical and they were all hand-made for him in a downtown shirt factory. They all were made of ever-so-light cotton that was truly easy to iron. I know this only in retrospect. Then, when I lived in his home, we did not iron. The French Laundry ironed all his shirts and folded them and inserted thin cardboard in the last fold…to hold it just so. And then they packed this big stack of shirts into a dark blue cardboard box that was just the size of a folded shirt. The sides of the boxes were high so that they were able to telescope out or in depending on the amount of shirts. The final touch was the twine that held it shut. A perfect package for perfect shirts, that each required elegant cufflinks, for a perfectly elegant gentleman who was my father.

I see him in his white elegance. Thin fabric that flowed as he moved, but the weight of the cufflinks held the sleeves down around the wrists. He wore undershirts; that would have spoiled the look, the style of the shirt. And, yes, he changed his shirts several times a day. Over this came the the jacket of a bespoke suit of a bespoke suit with no equal.

I can see him inserting the cufflinks into the cuffs buttonholes. One arm outstretched and twisted in toward the center as the other arm maneuvers the object through the holes linking the two sides of the cuffs together, and the final flip that secures the link to the cuff. A cuff linked. Success! Success as seen my the make of shirt, the style and weight of the cufflinks and the know-how that pulls it all together elegantly.

That was my father. Elegance personified.

Emotion with no emotion being said.