Memory Recall

I lifted this quote from a piece in the Oxford American:

The tending of fields, like the rendering of memories, is as much a rendering of fields as a tending of memories.” Casey Clabough

It made me think about my dad.

Dad & JillI am old enough to remember the sound of my father polishing his shoes, sitting on the green carpeted steps that dropped into his and my mother’s dressing room from their bedroom. His knees, tall and pointy as they gathered up to hold his forearms and elbows alternatively as he held his shoe just slightly out in front of his body – shoes in one hand, brush in the other, can of polish by his foot. Swish, scritch, swish, scritch, back and forth, his long fingers holding the brush like an extension of his hand, moving in quiet practice. There is the smell of the polish, strong, waxy and clean and the smell of my dad – like suits from the dry cleaners, fine old hats, worn out top siders, undershirts, deodorant, lipsyl all rolled into one. I can sit below him at the edge of his closet near the rows of shoes. I can see mine and my brother’s sleeping bags from here folded in the back of his closet, waiting for the next camping trip. But right now my father is polishing his shoes, the shoes he wears with his Navy uniform. Next he will polish the shoes he wears with his suits in court. I pick at the ugly green carpet and watch. I never tire of watching.

 

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