Walk A Mile

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I saw an old picture that I drew this picture from. It makes me think of my Dad. He turned 78 last week, but he is a million in my heart. I’ve heard a lot of his stories, and I have seen his pain from sorrow, illness and intense anger that he suppressed.

The shoes, however, remind me of the years that he worked in a factory that made newsprint. If you have ever been near a plant that produces paper, you will notice the pungent smell. Daddy said that it didn’t smell bad inside the mill from place to place, but boy when those different smells mixed it smells like a rotten green cloud than hung in the air. Daddy’s clothes and his lunchbox reeked of that rotten green cloud. His leather coat and shoes were banned to the porch.

His lunchbox was an entity of curiosity. It had that same odor mixed with the weird foods he craved that he calls “cave food.” It was such a phenomenon that on an instance when he left it at the Credit Union those little ladies who worked there thought they had seen and smelled something near death. There was a few pieces of paper towel in the bottom, but I’m sure they had not been refreshed in near a decade. It had it’s designated fork and a few packs of salt, pepper, saltines and oddities that I have no words to describe. It was grey and had a respectable amount of a mixture of years of dirt and grease. A man who works with tools is expected to be covered in grease, and his prized gray lunchbox was bound to catch a bit. Now that I think more about his lunchbox I believed the color mutated over time. The thermos was filled with very strong hot coffee, and the serving of cave food always had some kind of meat…that is all I’m going to say about the meat. The man is and always has been a cheese connoisseur. The worse it stunk the better. He imported his best cheese, by my personal standards, from a quaint German man who traveled from the plant in Wisconsin (the birthplace of cheese) to the mill in Coosa Pines, Alabama. My favorite was that smooth smoked provolone. I didn’t care to learn many of the names of the stinky ones that wound up into his lunchbox.There was a genius property to his prized lunchbox……no one would ever steal his lunch! There was a beautiful side to this lunchbox, too. On some occasions it would bring home those delicious pink snowball cakes with coconut, marshmallow, chocolate cake and a bit of fluffy cream inside.Those were for me for not making fun on his lunchbox.

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