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.