The Walk of Life


I’ve been meaning to write this for some time. I found myself telling this story to a friend last night, and she said, more or less, that I needed to get off my duff and tell it. So here it is:

In the mornings, as I’m getting ready to leave for work, the house is always quiet. The only loud sound is me, walking around the first floor in my dress shoes, across the linoleum. They make a very specific sound, and one day(a couple of years ago, I think, so I’ve been on my duff for quite a while), I realized that I remembered this sound from my childhood.

When I was a kid living at home, I had the room in the center of our house, next to the kitchen. My dad was always the first one up. I think he had to leave for work around 6 or 6:30, too early to see the rest of us wake up for school(and mom for work). But I would listen to him walking around our kitchen, getting coffee and breakfast. I wouldn’t get up; I’d just lie in bed, listening to that sound.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but now, 30+ years later, I know that this was the sound of reassurance, comfort and stability. My dad, getting up every morning, getting ready for work, and then going to work to provide for our family. Make no mistake, both mom and dad had to work to make ends meet in my house. Not just the required ends, like house payments and groceries, but also the ends me and my brothers wanted to have: musical instruments for school, track shoes, third and fourth cars with attending car insurance, that sort of thing. We were fortunate enough to have more than just a roof over our heads.

Most of you know how incredibly important music is to me, but music is a sound, and sounds are equally important to me. Just as science has shown that smells can be a very powerful memory trigger, sound can be, too. And each morning, as I walk around in  my dress shoes getting ready for work, I hear this sound, and I think of my dad. Every. Single. Day.

I love you dad, and thank you for all that you’ve done for me, Mike and Mark and Mom. Can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks.