Monday, February 28, 2011

A Song for My Father on his Birthday


Every time I hear the whistle of the Ontario Northlander, or a freight train as it rumbles on into Bracebridge, I say hello to my father.
He's not the engineer blowing the whistle, not now; never will be again, but I hear the lonely sound echoing off the granite cliffs of the Canadian Shield, I hear it through the confines of the brick walls where I spend my days. 
It's my daddy calling. 
He never said much, in life. Almost never said, "I love you." Yelled at me as much as anything but I mostly deserved it. At my sister's wedding reception, after the slide show I had produced, he came up to me with tears in his eyes and he cleared his throat and said, uncharacteristically formal, "I'm proud of you, daughter," and my knees buckled under the weight of the compliment.
Today when the train whistle called, I wished him a happy birthday.
I can't bake him a cake, or send him a card, or kiss his grizzled cheek. But I can play him one of his favourite songs, which is now one of my favourites, too, because Daddy, I'll always be walking the floor over you.



You left me and you went away.
You said that you'd be back in just a day.
You've broken your promise
and you left me here alone.
I don't know why you did, dear,
but I do know that you're gone.

I'm walking the floor over you.
I can't sleep a wink, that is true.
I'm hoping and I'm praying 
as my heart breaks right in two,
walking the floor over you.

Now some day you may be lonesome, too.
Walking the floor is good for you.
Just keep right on walking 
and it won't hurt you to cry.
Remember that I loved you 
and I will the day I die.

I'm walking the floor over you.
I can't sleep a wink, that is true.
I'm hoping and Im praying
as my heart breaks right in two,
walking the floor over you.


12 comments:

  1. Hard to believe he's not here anymore, even though it's been 4 years since we lost him. Life sure isn't the same without you Dad! I'm sure he's smiling down at you right now Cathy, probably singing away to the song and enjoying a smoke and a Labbatts 50. Happy Birthday Dad!

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  2. What a wonderful tribute, Cathy. You sure know how to evoke the love and loneliness in your writing.

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  3. Cathy, your tribute left tears in my eyes. My father had worked the railway, as well, and I always pause a moment when I hear that whistle. He has been gone for two years now and it's still hard.

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  4. Beautiful tribute, my friend. I know we share similar losses, and remember in similar ways. It somehow makes the hurt lessen. This made me tear up. Hugs, and peace...

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  5. That's a cool song, great lyrics. I'll raise a beer to your dad Cathy - Cheers!

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  6. Beautiful Cathy. Happy Birthday Uncle Bill.

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  7. Aww this is so sweet Cathy. Lovely remembrance and excellent song!

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  8. Such a sweet, heartfelt tribute to your Dad, Cathy. Train whistles are the best sound, and a nice way to remember.

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  9. Beautiful! So much love in this.

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  10. What a lovely tribute, Cathy. And the song is so very nice! :)

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