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The seersucker suit and the Book of Life
Dixie Diva
ronda rich
Ronda Rich is the author of What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should). - photo by File photo

From the moment Tink visited the Mississippi Delta, he began to long for a seersucker suit. While men in big cities like Atlanta, Memphis, Birmingham and Nashville wear the lightweight, airy suits in the hot, humid Southern summers, it is the men of the Delta who favor them most and keep them trendy.

Once Tink saw a friend of ours, Jon Rawls of Oxford, Mississippi, wearing one in light blue finished off with a bowtie, he said, “Baby, I have to have a seersucker suit. When am I getting one?”

Jon stepped up to mentor him, warning him not to pay full price because Jos. A. Bank runs them on sale regularly and that they are available in a variety of colors from the traditional light blue to yellow, beige, white, gray, red and navy.

In case I haven’t told you this before — and I can’t imagine that I haven’t — when John Tinker gets something on his mind that he wants, he will drive me crazy asking about it. That’s how we got a second horse, a miniature donkey and a “real” dog that will ride in the pickup truck with him.

“I need a farm dog,” he proclaimed.

So I found one in a drain pipe and brought her home. Same with a seersucker suit.

Every couple of months, he will say, “When am I getting a seersucker suit?”

The last time he brought it up happened to be a month before Easter.

“Perfect. We’ll get one for Easter. Do you want to go shopping tomorrow?”

Tink doesn’t always have to have his way or his wants. He just likes to know he can. As I planned the shopping trip, he began to back down.

“No. No. Maybe not. Everyone will make fun of me for having a seersucker suit.”

A Yankee by birth who is trying to be a proper Southerner by choice, he worries that he might overstep and be considered a “wannabe.” To be honest, I thought that a certain amount of mockery might be a possibility because we are mountain Southerners who were brought up to suffer. We would wear sackcloth and ashes if we could find a set but, that being impossible to find, our men will simply torment themselves in dark, hot wool suits.

“I want to be taken seriously in the land of my chosen people,” said the modern-day Moses. “I’ll just wear my regular ol’ suit, I guess. And don’t buy me a new tie, either. I’ve got plenty.”

Tink may not be a Southerner by birth, but he has learned quickly how to talk like one.

Seersucker suits and frilly hats aside, it was our friend Sandy who reminded us of the true significance of Easter. Over dinner with her and husband, Neal, they began to talk about their three sons who had been raised with a firm hand toward prayer, church and the ultimate salvation.

“Each one of our boys accepted Christ in our bed,” she said brightly. “When the time came for them, each one would come into our bedroom, crawl into bed between us and then pray to accept Christ as his Savior.”

I can think of nothing more delightful than knowing that all three of your children found the altar of redemption in the same cozy, safe place as their earthly father turned them over to their heavenly Father for eternity.

Sandy’s face lit up.

“After each boy accepted Christ, I put my arms around him and hugged him and said, ‘Do you hear that? That’s your name being written in the Book of Life.’”

“The Lamb’s Book of Life,” I whispered, my eyes tearing up. Daddy said it so often, quoting from the book of Revelation.

Easter, of course, is about the sacrifice of God’s Son on Calvary. The Lamb that would cleanse us forever.

That’s prettier than a dapper seersucker suit any day.

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