The Old Man and the Sears – An Ode to Father
My dad was a get-it-done kinda guy. He could make a wobbly bike no longer wobbly, lead a pack of Cub Scouts into the wilds of right-behind-the-house, whip up killer French toast and even negotiate with a frighteningly pushy car salesman. I believed he could do anything.
Except say no to my mom’s request to go shopping.
My mom didn’t drive, and my dad hated to say no to my mom, so once a month he chauffeured her to the mall in his burnt orange Olds Delta 88. In addition to driving, he was also in charge of juggling packages, schlepping bags and waiting. Lots of waiting.
This was long ago, before retailers began to realize that their locations needed to be destinations and meeting places, with comfortable lounges and cafes and cushy seating. Back in the day, big department stores weren’t worried about where Dad (or antsy kids) sat. There was usually only one chair and 27 guys; it was survival of the fittest (or sittest?).
So this is for my dad. And all the other men who, without complaint or contempt, carried the bags and held vigil outside the dressing room door.
Here’s to the guy who carried the bag,
Two steps behind, shoulders starting to sag.
Masking the pain of a knee that he wrenched,
Eyes always moving, in search of a bench.
He gave his opinions; “Yes, that looks nice.”
He wasn’t a fool; wouldn’t fall for that twice.
More and more boxes he adds to his pack.
Desperate for water; would kill for a snack.
But the trek must go on; there’s still much to see.
He braces himself; “A weak man would flee.”
To his horror, ahead are the signs for the sales.
Outside he is smiling, but inside he wails.
The department is crowded; it’s folks wall-to-wall.
Just then he spies it; a chair. In that hall.
He catches they eye of the man on his right,
Who has seen the chair, too. Will he put up a fight?
Strategy counts and our man is no clown.
He fakes to the right, surges forward, sits down.
Surrounded by bags, settled in for a while.
“I think that looks nice, dear,” he says with a smile.
So thanks to the fathers, our carrying guys.
They did it for love, and some real ugly ties.