Larry Ellis wrote this the other day and it struck a chord with me. Maybe it’s the poignancy. Maybe the familiarity of place, of people, of family. He said I could share it with you, so here it is.

Walking With My Father


As usual, he has the television up loud

And we watch our bottom-dwelling team

Go quietly in the third inning

“It’s nice out,” I tell him. “Alright,” he says

“We’ll go.”

The doorway, the step down to the porch

The step down to the walk

Are all obstacles now

Me holding the storm door open

He pushing his walker over the threshold

For a moment he is without support

But he stands


It is early evening and cool

And we step slowly along the driveway

The smooth concrete that he himself poured and finished

Thirty years ago

And then on to the blacktop road

Shuffling. The walker sticking in every crack and hole

Such effort. I wonder is there some better way

And yet we both know that every step is Grace

Every moment we have is Grace

A neighbor sees us and comes alongside

With encouragement and news

We reach the end of his road.

“You want to keep going?” I ask.

He nods. “Let’s go on.”

And we turn onto the sidewalk

As the sky turns from Robin’s egg to cobalt blue

“You remember the first time we fished Anthony Creek?”

“I’m not sure I remember the first one.

“Did we catch fish?”

“Yeah. A whole bagful. We caught fish we didn’t even know

What they were.”

“I do remember that. Andre took us in the truck

And we had to scoot down the mountainside.”


We go on and I wonder how far is too far

I tell him that we’ve gone farther than ever

Farther than ever since he got sick

But he wants to go on

“We’ll go on up to that streetlight up there

“Then we’ll turn around

“That be enough for you?”


On the way back we stop

And he rests

“Who lives in that house right there?”

“I don’t know who lives there now,” I say

“But when we were growing up

That was the church parsonage.

That’s where Dr. Weaver lived.”

“He was one of a kind,” Dad says.


As we reach home again

I point to a sprinkle of stars above the trees

Pure points of light from fires

Eight-thousand years old

“Look there, how beautiful.

There’s nothing like it.”


Copyright 2016, Larry Ellis