I picked up your shoes today
A lifetime of steps held in my hands.
A flood of memories, my mind commands

Days of baby oil
And curls patted down with care
Ready for the days beginnings, waiting to share

Days of singing in the kitchen
Where “Sister on the Hill” and commodities intermingled
With clouds of bacon flavor and whiffs of cream of wheat, none ever singled.

Days of heading off to work
With cookies and milk and the same lunch pail
And leftovers from the night before, never stale.

Days of walking through boilers
Turning a wrench, operations and maintenance at hand
Safety always, machines run on demand

Days of being behind the wheel of a truck
Whether it was for a harvest or a drill
Production waiting, for needs to fill

Days of mowing the yard
And working on screen doors
And washing cars and sweeping floors

Days of tilling the garden
Piles of tomatoes and potatoes strewn on the patio table
Waiting for whomever came around, take them if you’re able

Days of polishing “Whitie” old or new,
Better gas mileage
Strategies, waiting to pursue

Days of Monday night bowling
No handicap needed
For that left hand curve thrown down the lane, pins heeded

Days of magnifying glasses
And coin books scattered about
Looking for the silver penny to finish the book out

Days of packing and planning
Trips in the Chrysler for five
Hoping everyone would get along and come home alive

Days of Sonic runs
Where one extra drink was bought
For the one that inevitably the car seat sought

Days of discipline
When a young teen’s mouth was more than should be
That was the last time “shut-up” came from me

Days where meals
Were never eaten alone
Always a time to sit together in our home.

Days of gatherings where the food was plenty
And card games led to a shout or two at your family place
“How can you shoot the moon with just an ace?”

Days of cookie jars
And greedy little hands
Endless supply to meet demands.

Days where young hands
Waited for shovels of mud overturned
Wriggling, fat worms in the bucket squirmed

Days of fishing where seven poles were taken
But one pole sat silent while others became tangled
Your time spent cooking hotdogs and no kids strangled

Days of moving ceramic molds
And mixing slip
Always ready for new production, motors to equip.

Days of sitting on the front porch
Passersbys and commotion in the park
Sometimes a pigeon, sometimes a lark

Days of holding a cat
Or getting them out from under your feet
Making sure they got their share to eat

Days where steps became shuffled
But driven to one more step take
Hands trembled, uncontrollably did shake

Days of doctors
Under protest
Eat a good meal, get plenty of rest

Days where your feet were held
In a wheelchair resting place
You always showing you knew the floor was your space

Days where your words became lost
But within your eyes and smile
You knew and communicated… regardless, all the while

A day where your shoes were removed
Your feet tired, from the journey, bent
They stretched and took new breath, eternal life sent.

I picked up your shoes today
A lifetime of steps held in my hands.
A flood of memories, my mind cherishes and keeps on command.