Today I honoured my dad. I’m sure he’s shaking his head and mumbling something about “a bunch of damn foolishness”. Or he’s just happy I was thinking of him.
I have had a pair of Dad’s old rubber boots for forever. I can’t remember if I had these before I cleaned out his house, or if they got brought home along with everything else I couldn’t part with at the time. I used to wear them to “scuff around” in the yard while doing chores because they were easy to slip on and off. They should be. They are men’s size 11. I wear a women’s size 10. I’m still not big enough to fill these big boots, in more ways than one.
These boots have followed me for many years. If they did come home with me when I sold Dad’s property, that would have been back in 2001. They eventually got left alone in our basement. Then when we moved to our current house back in 2016, they came with us and got put in a corner of the garage and stayed there until I thought of them yesterday afternoon.
Dad has been on my mind lately. He’s been gone now since Valentine’s Day 2011. I was thinking how my favourite Dad times were when he was still a fisherman and I was just a little kid. I remember my mom telling me that when I was little I followed him everywhere “…like a little duckling”. And he was always patient and happy to take me with him. I was his shadow.
I have memories of sitting on his lap in his truck while he was driving, usually to the Ingomar wharf, so I could help steer. Ah, those were the days before seat belts. I was always trailing along behind him when he was walking anywhere, either across the road to his barn, on the wharf or maybe on the beach below his house scavenging after a storm. I was never far from his rubber boots. Of course, because he was 6’2″, I had to run to keep up.
Really, the pair of Dad’s old boots that I have are no longer useful as footwear. They are still too big for me, and are actually quite uncomfortable. But I couldn’t imagine throwing them away. So what do you do with an old pair of rubber boots? You fill them with flowers! Actually, first you fill them with holes. Dad must have been chuckling when I put that drill to the soles. Some rocks for good drainage and weight were put in first, then some soil. If these boots could talk, I’m sure they would reminisce about the amount of mud they walked in while planting potatoes, peas, carrots, beans and my dad’s prized dahlias. Yes, he was a gardener as well as a fisherman.
I positioned the boots on our front steps. Some rope from a friend was wrapped around, not only to add stability, but as a nod to the fishing theme I was kinda going for. The flowers were added. Voilà!
I think Dad would like them. He’d laugh about it a bit, but I think he’d appreciate the sentiment. And I appreciate the memories every time I see them.
I love and miss you, Dad.
Pictures I took of Dad while he cleaned some haddock, wearing his rubber boots. (Late 1980s):