Dryer sheets. You'd think that'd be an odd trigger to remind you of your pop, but dryer sheets do it to me every time. I guess dad had a way with the wash, he did.
Last January I found myself replacing the light bulb in the long, narrow walk-in closet that he shared with my mom in their home back in New Jersey. Her stuff is still on the right, and although dad passed away in September of '06, his clothes are still hanging there on the left, washed and pressed and hung with his loving meticulousness he showered upon everything. There was too, the smell of the dryer sheets. Bounce.
I was thinking then and there that I had no idea how long these clothes will remain here and brushed through them for some things I should keep for myself that mom wouldn't miss. I slid a belt out from a pair of jeans that dad always wore--almost a trademark in a way. There were ties too, the skinnier ones back in indie-vogue again and hanging on a first or second grade-era Father's Day gift--a stained piece of wood with prongs over which the ties hung and above the prongs in the wood I had chiseled 'TIES'. I ran my fingers over the coarse, chiseled letters--the adult designer in me wincing at the poor typography. But there it was and there it stayed since that long ago Sunday.
After big meals my dad would often talk about other famous big meals he'd eaten. "Oh, when your mother made that lasagna..." Soon would come the stories of when he as a teenager, and then later into his twenties, would go see the famous Big Bands of the day--Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman--in the ballrooms in Clifton and Paterson, New Jersey where he grew up. His misty excitement for that time rivaled my own enthusiasm back then for KISS, or Queen, or the Beatles. The energy was the same even if the tools happened to be different. So, in memory of my dad, some of his favorites from that Big Band Era.
This Father's Day I'll be home doing wash.
(Update: ...AND remembering Tim Russert.)
Glen Miller - The Chesterfield Show (Mp3)
Count Basie and His Orchestra - April In Paris (Mp3)
Benny Goodman - Jersey Bounce (Mp3)
Woody Herman and His Orchestra - Everywhere (Mp3)
Tommy Dorsey - None But the Lonely Heart (Mp3)
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra - Melancholy Mood (Mp3)
Glenn Miller - Moonlight Serenade (Mp3)
Count Basie and His Orchestra - Softly With Feeling (Mp3)
Benny Goodman - Body And Soul (Mp3)
Woody Herman and His Orchestra - Summer Sequence (Part 2) (Mp3)
Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra - I'll Be Seeing You (Mp3)
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra - Begin the Beguine (Mp3)