My Five Suits I don't usually preach with a coat and tie now. Coats make me hot, and I've never liked ties. I still wear them at times, but not often. Not trying to be cool, just prefer that, and it seems to fit our changing church. But there was a time when I preached in suits: the College Church in the 1980s. When I went to try out there in March of 1984, I didn't own a suit. One reason is that I was fashion-challenged. But another reason is that we were budget-challenged. I was being paid $18K at our congregation, Diane didn't work outside the home, and we had two kids. I don't resent that a bit; I would guess that probably fit right into the church's membership. But my dad pointed out that I should probably preach in a suit at the College Church. I was just 27, and he knew I shouldn't dress like a university student. So he bought me two suits. I wore one in the morning and one in the evening the Sunday I tried out. When I arrived in Searcy, I needed another suit or two. So Dirk Smith, a Harding student and the son of our campus ministers, drove me to Horn's in Little Rock. Anyone ever heard of Horn's (or remember those frightening commercials)? I paid either fifty bucks each, or maybe it was fifty for both. (Dirk, are you out there? Do you remember?) So now I had four suits. All right, two of them may not have been exactly Hickey Freeman quality. But they worked. My fifth suit came from an older man whom I've always admired named Virgil Lawyer. Virgil spent his life preaching and teaching history at Harding. His students felt like they were there for the actual battles when they heard Virgil talk about the Civil War. He and Lou are one of my favorite couples ever. He called me one day and said he'd like to take me shopping. I didn't know what that meant, but I loved the idea of a day with Virgil. We drove over to North Little Rock, and he picked out a nice suit that he bought me. He told me that when he was a young minister an older man bought him a suit when he couldn't afford one, simply asking him to do the same for another young minister later in life. Of those five suits I had in the mid-eighties, four are long gone. But the one Virgil bought me still hangs in my closet. I just can't turn loose of it.