Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
Until my father retired several years ago, I gave him a tie at least once a year. He swore that’s what he wanted, and I chose to believe him, because, well, it certainly made my life easier.
Probably few women these days are that lucky, but most of us are at least related to a man who has one particular interest we can cater to at gift-giving time. Pardon my stereotyping, but I’ve tried to hit some of the old standbys for this week’s column:
Barbecuing. I’d never actually set foot in Bennett’s Market before, although its proximity to Hobby Lobby ensured I knew exactly where it was (corner of Markham and Bowman). It’s a gourmet grocery/meat shop, but it also carries a pretty extensive collection of grilling accoutrements. The ultra-splurge: a Big Green Egg smoker ($700 or so for the medium size). But there’s plenty on the other end of the price spectrum too — grates for cooking fish or veggies, cedar planks, various tools and baskets, even a special kind of rubbery mitt that allows the user to dispense with forks and spatulas and just flip the meat over by hand. The mini-splurge (at least on my budget): A remote meat thermometer ($50), so Dad can keep track of the heat from air-conditioned comfort.
Golf. If I were taking up the game, I’d grab a six-pack cooler designed to hang off a golf bag ($20 at International Golf, 8216 Cantrell). And a golf bag umbrella holder ($8) or rope-and-bead stroke counter (also $8), because God knows the last thing any golfer wants is to accidentally omit a stroke or two from the scorecard. If your bank account allows, there’s also a practice cage ($100, looks kind of like a soccer goal, designed for hitting drives into — there’s also a very low-tech model for $9) or high-tech golf shirts ($50-$60) that, although made entirely of polyester, apparently are a lot cooler than regular old natural, breathing cotton.
Type A personality. Just a couple doors down from International Golf, Stack-n-Rack has a few things that might appeal to the compulsive organizer. I like the cheese element of a book safe ($16), and the gadget factor of the Tie-O-Matic motorized tie and belt rack ($25). There’s also a nice line of brown and khaki faux suede storage baskets and boxes ($10 and up) that would look great in a home office.
Fisher king. I sure wouldn’t venture to pick out a lure or rod for someone else, but Arkansas Rod and Reel (same shopping center as the previous two stores) had a few items I might dare to buy. Like a set of bullfrog lures ($13, your choice of black or albino models), just because they’re goofy looking and they’d make me laugh every time I saw them in a tackle box. Or a digital fish scale ($22). And for the dad who spends as much time chasing toddlers as he does chasing trout, a long-handled fishing net ($24) that’s just the right size to bag a 2-year-old on the lam.
Clotheshorse. Ties? What ties? I breezed through Greenhaw’s in Breckinridge Village and bought all my male relatives new imaginary wardrobes with my imaginary lottery winnings, which, if you read this column regularly, you know figure into my thoughts probably more often than they should. But back to the clothes: First choice, a Tulliano linen button-down shirt ($88.50). Gorgeous. My favorite solid color is the denimy blue, but I also really like the tone-on-tone tie-dye-ish striped ones too. There’s a whole table of “clearance” polos and tees, most around $50 from what I could tell. And if you’re on the $20-or-under plan, just indulge in a pair of merino wool socks (about $16, depending on brand and pattern).
No clue. And then there are the dads who either have no real interests or already have every gadget and gewgaw they can fit in the shed/garage/trunk of the car. For them, I’d hit the bookstore. A couple of suggestions: “Dad’s Own Housekeeping Book: 137 Bright Ideas,” by David Bowers ($10.95). He makes half the mess — help him learn to clean it up more efficiently …
Or, just for fun, “The Meaning of Tingo: And other Extraordinary Words from Around the World,” by Adam Jacot De Boinod ($20). This one’s full of weird and wonderful words from other languages — like scheissbedauern, German for “the disappointment one feels when something turns out not nearly as badly as one had hoped.” (“Tingo,” for the record, is a word from an Easter Island language that means taking everything you want from a friend’s house by borrowing them one at a time. Brilliant.)
• The Cantrell Design Center (7619 Cantrell) is discounting all recliners an additional 10 percent through Father’s Day. In case you want to finally get rid of his Martin Crane chair.
• The Caters to You part of the Heights store By Invitation Only/Caters to You is moving out to join Catering to You on Cantrell by Pavilion in the Park, and there’s a sidewalk sale going on until June 10. Probably won’t find a whole lot for Dad, but hey, reward yourself for all the selfless shopping you’ve done for him.
Hey, baby, I hear those blues a-callin’…