Daddy's Girl

I have smelly feet. Just like my dad. I like being just like him. Even if it does mean I stink. A daddy's girl. That's me.

My father always wore shiny, black dress shoes. It didn't matter if he was wearing his suit or his Bermuda shorts. His feet were adorned by his shiny, black dress shoes. And black dress socks. How could I forget those?

I loved sitting with my dad on Saturday night as he polished his shoes. We both loved to smell the cedar box he kept his supplies in. I would hand him what was needed as he kept me entertained with corny jokes or memories from his childhood. When he was done he would try them on for my approval. "Perfect daddy!", I said. This time was precious to me. And to him.

My father worked for Kroger. Mom took my brother and me to visit him often. I fondly remember dad in his pink shirt (yes, before real men wore pink!), his Kroger name tag and those shiny, black dress shoes. I can still hear his footsteps as he raced down the aisle to greet us!

These same shiny, black dress shoes would serve many purposes over the next decade. They were worn as he carried me up a hill when I broke my leg. Or when he kicked a football to my brother out in the backyard. Or as he held my mother's hand as they walked through the park. Or as he ran down the hospital hall just in time to hear his grandchild's first cry.

My father's shiny, black dress shoes started showing signs of wear. One day when I was taking my kids to Kroger to visit their grandpa I saw him in the parking lot. He didn't walk as fast as he used to. In fact, he dragged his feet with each step. I brushed it off as a sign of aging.

Before long dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's with autonomic failure. This was the cause for the scuffs on his shiny, black dress shoes. Within a year my father's journey would take a drastic turn.

His shiny, black dress shoes would be put away on his closet shelf for the time being. He could no longer walk and spent the rest of his days in bed.

My father also lost his ability to speak. I would sit by his side holding his hand and entertained him with the corny jokes he used to tell or memories from my childhood. His eyes would light up when I reminisced about him carrying me on his shoulders at the parade or when he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day! This time was precious to me. And to him. I was daddy's girl.

I received the call at 12:18 am on January 11, 2007. My father's earthly journey had come to an end. My husband and I left for the nursing home. We were the first ones there. As I walked to the end of his bed I touched his foot. I didn't let go until the warmth left his body.

Two days later as I gathered his suit for the funeral I saw his black shoes on the closet shelf. Next to it was his shoe shine kit. I brought the cedar box down for one more smell. Mmmm. Then I grabbed his scuffed, black dress shoes. I tried to shine them. Tears filled my eyes until I couldn't see what I was doing.

I will always be daddy's girl. No one else will ever fill my father's shiny, black dress shoes.

This is my entry for Scribbit's Write-Away contest.


Mary@notbefore7 said...

Saw this via Scribbit!

Beautiful story and memory.

Becoming Me said...

This post took my breath away.

Scribbit said...

What a beautiful story--thank you so much for entering!

Faith said...

I just finished putting my mascara on for church and decided to browse my favorite blogs. I should have waited to put on my make-up! This made me cry!
Beautiful post....your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man.

Goofy Girl said...

!! Amazing post, and it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

Sonja said...

So lovely. What a wonderful memory of your father. How lucky you are to be "daddy's girl."

Richelle said...

Beautiful post!

Daisy said...

Beautiful story. What a neat memory -- shoe polish and cedar boxes will always trigger memories in you.

Jennifer said...

This is beautiful...just beautiful!
I am a Daddy's girl too.
My Daddy passed away Oct 2004...I miss him terribly.

Dianne said...

This is a VERY sweet post...you were lucky to have such a great dad!

creative-type dad said...

Wow, first time here. Love this story.