My late husband, Ted sr. was a meat cutter for over 25 years. Believe it or not, he wore the same work boots for all those years.

Every now and then the kids or I would say, “Please get some new boots.” He never did, just had his old ones soled and heeled-again.

It’s been 26 years since he wore his boots. Ever since, they have sat on the old milk can outside the cottage door. They don’t look much different than they did 26 years ago. I’ll take a word or two from the mailman: “Neither rain nor snow or death of night-----” have ruined those boots. The toes turn up, a smidgeon of mold here and there give some color; they need soles and heels. They definitely have kept their personality.

Today, our “kids” are older than when they lost their dad. They have kept him so much a part of our family without staying in the past and grieving for what might have been.

The work boots were so much a part of him, and a sweet memory to remember.

One day I asked them what memory of Dad did they have about his work boots?

One thought was that he wore them five days a week for all those years without missing a day.

He came home from work and it was the same scene: took off the boots, wiped his feet with the socks and put them under the end table.

The boots couldn’t be shined, but as a former airman, his pair of good shoes got the old spit shine on the shoe box.

His boots smelled like beef from the meat department;I got hungry for New York strip.

This seems to be a little anecdote about a pair of boots. Actually, it is more than that. It is about a dad and his kids. To them he is forever young. Dad, you are missed and always will be.

We were 19 year-old married folk when he hitchhiked home every weekend from Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill. Every week, he wanted pork chops and mac and cheese. I got pretty good at it.

Traditional Creamy Mac and Cheese

Ingredients: 1 small onion, diced and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, diced and sauted in butter (optional), 1 8-ounce box elbow macaroni, cooked to direction, 1 pound Velveeta cheese (only Velveeta) melted with 1/2 stick butter, 1-2 cups half and half, salt and pepper to taste,

Directions: mix onion and garlic with cheese, butter and 1 cup half and half with macaroni, make sure the mixture is soupy enough (but not too much), add more cream if necessary. Top with bread crumbs and bacon bits. Bake at 300 degrees in casserole dish for 20 minutes or until hot.

Serve with pork chops! Enjoy.

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