The Story Of A Shmata…

Mom called to talk about my 50th birthday and then I came across one of dad’s shirts that I took back with me and in a flash I saw this and heard this.

No surprises to me because I think and see the world in very graphic images and often times my mind works at light speed so by the time I realized I had seen and heard those I had three others bouncing through my skull.

Won’t try to walk you through the how or why besides most of you wouldn’t be interested and even my number one fan finds me exhausting at times.

It is kind of funny to me because on the almost but not quite eve of my 50th birthday I haven’t mellowed half as much as I had always assumed I would.

The old G-man, ya know the guy who joined the journey on the first day of kindergarten told me the night before my wedding that I had really mellowed out.

Sometimes I wonder if that means I was five times as crazy or if life took whatever had mellowed and set it of on fire or done the equivalent of attaching fire crackers to a cat’s tale.

Dad’s Shoes

Came across a very old picture of my son standing in a pair of my shoes and smiled.

He hasn’t been in diapers in so many years it feels like two life times have passed and every time I see it I remember putting on my dad’s shoes.

More often than not it reminds me of hearing his dress shoes cross the wood floors in our old house in the mornings before he would go to work.

My kids don’t remember when I worked in an office every day. They remember coming to the building to visit, but they have no recollection of me in the morning, grabbing my stuff and running out the door day in and day out.

They remember multiple changes, some in employment or employment status and moving but no shoes on a wood floor.

Now they have come to recognize a swift knock on the wall as evidence their father is working in the bedroom and they need to quiet down because he is on the phone or wrestling with some spreadsheet.

Sometimes I wonder if all the change has made them more resilient or nervous about the future. Doesn’t have to be one or the either, could be different without question.

It occurs to me because I remember it never occurring to me that dad could lose his job. I knew his responsibilities might change, but it never included his not working for the county.

One day a half dozen or so years ago he told me I had been unlucky and that he was lucky, at least when it came to employment.

That still makes me shake my head because it was so surprising.

Dad wasn’t a man for excuses.

If you did something he expected you to do it right and you would hear about it if you didn’t. If something happened it generally meant you were responsible in some way because nothing happens in a vacuum.

Some of you who didn’t meet him until he was older, especially after he became a grandpa don’t understand he was a different person in many ways.

Not better, not worse, different.

Or maybe that is what we say when we grow up with someone and don’t know any different.


I told SQ I appreciated their helping me remember what is different and who I really am.

Sometimes you get lost under the clutter and weight of responsibility and forget or misplace yourself. I think I always heard the echoes, but it took a while to respond.

And we sing along:

Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
Was just a freight train comin’ your way
Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
Was just a freight train comin’ your way, hey, yeah
It’s comin’ your way, it’s comin’ your way, yeah, yeah, here it comes

Maybe I ought to find that cave and go live off the land and stop worrying about having enough cash for retirement. Regular labor will carve extra flesh from these bones and turn me into a weathered beast.

I don’t mind, not here to look pretty or play statue.

And we sing along again.

And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
‘Till touch down brings me round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I’m a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

There is so much left to do, to say and to experience. Every day is a chance to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and to do something that prevents us from saying what if, if only or could have.

Took the tshirt and buried my nose in that shmata for a moment and let my mind go.

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