As I was taking a walk this morning, I was thinking of what to write about. I woke up with the thought of little moccasins. The ones my mothers first husband used to make. Every year (til the alcohol took over) he would make them for Christmas gifts. He ordered a sew them yourself kit and there they would be for Christmas.
I liked them because it made me feel like the little Indian girl I had always wanted to be. I didn’t know then how much Cherokee lived in my blood. In most of the places we lived it wasn’t a far stretch of the imagination to become what I dreamed of. The moccasins were special because he put them together himself. He sewed those shoes instead of buying them which says a lot considering his challenges.
He wasn’t a giving man. When I look back on the moments of wearing the moccasins it makes me happy to know that he put them together himself. Lloyd was his name and he had a neurological disorder. I don’t know what was, but it was from birth and it got much worse as he aged. His body shook, he walked with crutches to get around and his speech was slurred.
Like a lot of other little kids I had ear aches when I was young and I sometimes couldn’t hear him or understand what he was saying and that would make him angry. I look back on it now and think maybe it wasn’t anger but frustration and shame. He didn’t have much patience for me because I wasn’t his kid by blood. Not something that could be helped by me.
I was thinking of the moccasins this morning and remembering how soft they were on my feet and how easy they were to slip in and out of. I much preferred to go barefoot (that hasn’t changed by the way) and this was the next best thing. I don’t have many great memories of this man but I like this one so I will hold on to it.
It must have been hard to be him and yet I see that all of the challenges he had were chances for growth. Its what you do with the challenges that make you stronger and define the soul you want to be. Lloyd was given shitty parents and crazy relatives. He lost everything he loved when he lost my mom and that surfaced later in his life.
Even though we weren’t close and he was who he was I am going to carry this soft memory of him. You know, fathers day is coming up and it’s not always my favorite day, but this year I will take a moment for each one of those men my mom chose to step into that role. The one that really mattered didn’t get a chance and the ones that did get the chance couldn’t hold a candle to my real dad.
Thank you Lloyd where ever you are for putting together the sweetest little moccasins ever. You gave me a good memory and I appreciate that and will hold it forever.
(Just a side note here. I couldn’t find one picture of a pair of moccasins like Lloyd made, so I chose a picture created by artist Judith Durr)