This is one wild grandfathering day. "Grandfathering" is the theme for the month. Boy, oh boy, am I in the fracas. I was all set to tell you this story then I got caught by a book you have to know about (I review books in my genre). Not here. You'll have to go to my blog. It will also tell you why "fracas" is in order. GenDads. Go there later. For now, think about what's over the door of your son's bedroom that he looks at as he heads out into the other fracas, the family, and the world. This is a story I had every reason to ignore, forget, not listen to. It was pouring rain. We were waiting to go on the football field in the first game of the season. Then is when I heard about the boots.
I'd better explain. I'm NOT a professional or even pick-up football player at 70 years. This was the 50-year re-union of the championship football team of Wheaton College. We were guests of honor to be paraded out on the field for the first game of the season. Another honor was in play...the biggest rainstorm in the area's history since records. Forget it; it's football, not badminten or baseball. That is to say, we let the youngins play the first half and waited the torrent out 'til halftime.
Fifty years is a lot of ground to cover for guys who put their hearts, honor, and bursitis on the line. As we admired the rural stories of family life in the northern fam lands saturated with Nordic heritage, a simple answer to for the question for my someday-book, "With your immigrant dad helping set the farming livelihood in motion, was there any direct imprint on your own sons and daughters?
Al said it simply with an illustration. "My son missed my father deeply at his passing. The next thing I knew, I saw a pair of boots tied to a nail over the door of his bedroom. 'Those are the shoes I want to fill,' he said."
They were calling us to the field. Funny that such a short dialog would last so long. It's been three years and the "Shoes Above the Door" is a poem I want to write some day. Better yet, it's a story I want to be told a year or two after my passing. It's the shoe leather of legacy.