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My Father’s Vintage Cufflinks

Vintage Cufflinks

Vintage Cufflinks

My father pastored small churches across the south central plains of America.
Sunday mornings were his time to shine.
I watched him get ready like some little girls watch their mothers.
He’d shine his shoes, and sometimes, mine.
He’d shave and trim his mustache. Then he’d iron his shirt and warm up the car.
My father had a treasure chest on his dresser, where for years he kept these cufflinks.
While he got ready I’d turn the man bling between my fingers and count his silver.
I never saw him wear them.
More Vintage Cufflinks
Every Sunday I asked my father the same question.
“Daddy, can I have your cufflinks?”
My father seldom told me no.
If I saw a book in his study and I wanted it, he’d give it to me.
But, for some reason, he’d never turn loose of his cufflinks.
The day my mom packed up his things and we put him in a nursing home,
I asked her if I could take them, and she obliged.
To anyone else, they’d just be so much junk.
But, as a young girl, every cheap facet seemed to catch the light of all my hopes.
I thought we could pop the big blue jewels out and sell them for money.
We’d use the cash to buy all the things we needed.
My father tried to explain to me that the jewels in the cufflinks
were nothing more than colored glass.
Fool’s gold.
But, I didn’t believe him.
I thought they could make us rich.
When I was little, my siblings and I hoped that one day,
my father would be invited to pastor a “good church.”
I wasn’t sure what a good church was, but I was certain what it wasn’t: POOR.
These days, my thinking has turned upside down.
I know a woman who serves in ministry at a small rural church on the south central plains of America. She told me recently her church is poor, her church is small. She told me that every Sunday the pastor and his wife pick up a bunch of women at a halfway house who’ve just been released from prison. They bring them to church. She told me that sometimes these women just sit on the pew and stare off into space like they aren’t even present.
Others have lives broken nearly beyond human recognition.
I’ve been to this church. I’ve seen the torn carpet in the bathroom,
the dead bees in the windowsills.
“That sounds like a very good church to me,” I say. She pauses. She takes in what I have said. She understands what I am saying. The goodness of a church measured by its ability to welcome in the most desperate…
I keep my father’s vintage cufflinks in a blue Wedgewood dish inside a curio cabinet in my bedroom.
Two days ago, I discovered two of the four cufflinks were missing.
Sully had gotten into the cabinet, tempted as he was to touch the big blue jewels.
I know exactly how he felt.
I find the missing cufflinks in a corner of my room.
I rub the jewels with the pad of my thumb, and think of my father.
His DNA is on these cufflinks. It bejewels me and it bejewels Sully.
It will be Easter soon, Dad. All the churches you pastored were very, very good.
Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. jenX67

    @billy – where are you? no used car posts for days. i’ve worked on your blog. it’s nearly ready to show you. =))))))

  2. wildbillyelliott

    I too, love this post. Seeing the cufflinks after so many years really brought back alot of memories. I do remember Dad wearing them as well. They were a gift from Mom purchased after the sale of our Hacienda Heights home, if I recall correctly. They were very special, and we all admired them as children. One reason he stopped wearing them is…

    If you look closely at the woven metal straps, part of the weave started to become unravelled and on the side of the broken part was a tiny sharp edge that hooked the material of his polyester dress slacks on one pantleg and ruined them. He put them away and never wore them again. But I guess they were just too precious to him to get rid of.

    Thanks for uncovering another memory that was buried deep.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you Jen for this great post. You always bring to the forefront memories I hold deep within my heart. I have many of his keepsakes.

    All of our churches were small and poor, but we had a wonderful ministry. Our sheep needed a shephard and we did our best to feed them. No regrets. :>)

    Love you– Mom

  4. Daddy Forever

    I so glad you have wonderful memories of your dad. My dad worked the night shift and I rarely saw him.

  5. Lin

    I love this post, Jen. I remember Daddy’s cufflinks, too. However,(I guess because I’m older than you…) I remember him WEARING them. Looking back, french cuffed shirts must have been a luxury we couldn’t afford. Even the cheap ones were expensive. I’m pretty sure he stopped wearing the cufflinks when he no longer had one to wear. I loved watching him get ready, too. Even more than that, I loved to throw my arms around him on Sunday mornings. He always smelled so good! What a great memory…Sniff.

  6. Territory Mom

    I love this post. I have some of my grandpa’s bolo ties. He was a preacher. I made a pillow for my mom out of his old ties. She remember every tie I used. You have a gift.

  7. kent

    Jen your writings are a truely gems.

  8. Poetikat

    You always get to the heart, Jen. So true – it does sound like a very good church.

    The cufflinks look like Georg Jensen’s work ( a Danish designer). We have a couple of similiar pieces that were give to us by Kevin’s dad.


  9. jenX67

    @Richard – it is a small world!

    @Yogi – yes, i’d forgotten about the tie tacks. There were some of those, too. =(

    @Naomi – I appreciate you taking the time to say that, b/c with this post especially, I wondered if anyone would understand what I was trying to say. I wish I could go to the Temple with you. I visited Temple B’nai Israel in OKC often during the 1990s, but have been in years. I loved the Bar Mitvahs and O’Cady (sp?) services. The latter was especially cool! Once, they sang Turn, Turn, Turn!!

  10. Yogi♪♪♪

    Great post. My Dad also has a little box with cuff links, tie tacks, and such. I thought they were wonderful and special. They are.

  11. Naomi Munn

    I get you, Jen. I really do. Someday if you ever come here I’ll bring you to our temple and you’ll think it’s pretty good, too.

  12. Richard Millington

    hey Jen,

    You should take the credit for me reading Cathy’s blog.

    Remarkably Cathy and my girlfriend were in the same architecture class too.

    Small world.

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