‘Knot’ a problem

“Am I sure about this?” I asked myself as I slipped on my sport coat and looked in the mirror.
It wasn’t the sport coat that had me concerned, it was the opened collar polo shirt under it.
Normally on a warm summer’s evening I would have no problem attending a viewing dressed like this. But this was Ed McLaughlin’s viewing. And as such, I debated with myself about changing to a dress shirt and necktie.
I elected to stay with the more sporty look, but still felt apprehensive as I stepped onto the porch of the funeral home in Wilkes-Barre.
Ed McLaughlin, who passed away on June 4, at age 85, was Dean of Academic Affairs in 1990  when I joined the staff at Luzerne County Community College and the first person I met with after inking my contract. I loved his kindly manner. Who didn’t? During our conversation he brought up attire. He said as a college professor I could dress any way I liked, and that I would soon notice some colleagues standing in front of classes in sweatshirts and jeans. But he advised me to consider wearing a tie to work. “I always believed it should be easy to tell the professors from the students,” he said.
I took his advice to heart and wore a tie every day. Still do.
And here I was going to his viewing tie-less.
I was fully prepared to apologize to him in my heart, when I approached the coffin and there was Ed, in a suit with an opened collared shirt and no tie.
I chuckled as I told his son Michael how his dad had influenced my teaching attire and how I fretted showing up dressed as I did.
“You had nothing to worry about,” Michael said. “My dad said when he retired his ties retired with him. He never wore one again.”

Ed Ackerman