This is a picture of my dad.


For the last several years during Lent, our family has had a practice that is in addition to any other Lenten discipline we might choose. Each day there is a bag on the kitchen table and each member of the family has to place something in the bag. An article of clothing, a toy, a game they are no longer playing. It’s an attempt to declutter and simplify our lives. The first few days are easy. There’s always a t-shirt or something we picked up that we no longer use. The deeper into the season we get, the more of a challenge it becomes.

I get dressed up one day a week. Even when the Pittsburgh Steelers call and ask me to be their Chaplain, I imagine I’ll still get to wear tennis shoes, so this year, I thought I would go through my dress shoes and clear those out. I came across the loafers pictured above.

I got these shoes in 1988 before I left for college. Maybe my parents thought I would get involved in student government and need them while I dined with the Dean. Maybe they thought a young woman would invite me to a sorority formal, and I would need them to look sharp. (My parents had high hopes, but a C in Bowling dashed those hopes quickly.)

At any rate, things were a little different in 1988. If you were a guy and got new shoes, the last thing you wanted was for anyone to notice your new shoes. And how in the world was I going to break in a new pair of black loafers unnoticed around campus? So I talked to my dad, and he volunteered to wear these shoes to work for a month to get them broken in. And then when he and my mom visited for Parents Weekend, he delivered them to me. That way, if I ever needed to put them on, I would look like I wore them all the time.

So no, that’s not a picture of my dad, but that’s a picture of about the most dad kind of thing my dad could have done. Only a size 7, but damn big shoes to fill.

They are not getting put in the bag.


3 thoughts on “Shoes

  1. Made my day!! Loved your dad. Cook Griffin might take that a step further and say “I want to be a dad like that.” Me, too.

    Eddie Speas CDO/Partner Coldwell Banker Advantage

  2. Patrick,
    I knew your Dad well, and those are indeed big shoes to fill! I’ll always remember being on mission trips with Dave and him ordering “the coldest beer you’ve got!” Also, this morning I stood in a Hardee’s for 45 minutes, waiting for a gravy biscuit. The only thing that kept me sane was thinking of your previous post, “Expectations.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Bob Neill

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