Sunday, June 17, 2012

Me and My Shadow

Daddy and Me
His boots would be sitting by the door; a day's work of sawdust and clay settled on them like the dusting of a first snow. They always fascinated me, those boots. I would silently watch him put them on sometimes, deft, weathered hands moving in a muscle memory dance that would always conquer that complex system of laces and hooks.

But he wouldn't have them on tonight. They would be sitting by the door, a reminder of obligation and worry that held no place in this nightly ritual.

He would have on a pair of boat shoes, shoes that I'd slipped my own small feet into a thousand times, and if his boots represented work and obligation, those boat shoes represented freedom and happiness.

After scooping up some kibble and tossing it into a bucket, we'd make our nightly trek through the backyard, up to the hill where Barney the basset hound would be waiting patiently for his meal. Our journey there would not be ordinary, and it would always be ours.

I'd follow beside him, my smaller steps matching his larger ones in a perfect rhythm, a Daddy-and-Daughter dance always with the same soundtrack.

He'd sing, "Me and my shadow, strolling down the avenue, do de do, do de do."

Every night. Just the same. The sun would be setting, and our shadows would stretch before us, tall and silly, as silly as he and I, singing and strolling and sharing that time together when boat shoes and a basset hound could chase our worries away.

I'm still my Daddy's shadow, always following in his much larger footsteps and remembering that no matter how old I get that will always be true.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

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