Monday, November 18, 2019

My Favorite Flannel Shirt

Isn't it funny how you remember certain pieces of clothing so clearly? Like in this poem I wrote for my father, the year following his death (over 18 years ago). I normally don't write poems, but for some reason I wrote a few in my journal that year. It was a therapeutic way of processing my grief in that season.

I woke up early this morning thinking about him, Henry Orville Heisey, because today would be his 90th birthday. I pulled out a journal containing some of those post-death poems and decided to share one with you in honor of him. The songwriter in me wants to do a "re-write", but then it wouldn't be in its original form. The day I wrote it I had simply picked up my pen and started writing until I felt like stopping.

My Favorite Shirt

It hangs on the line
my favorite shirt
colors of blue, green and pink
that brought you to life

I wear it often
and snuggle it tight
a small piece of my daddy
I feel like I wear

The blue, cream and gray
of a sweater you wore—
I think now it's Aspen's
I can't be real sure

It made you look healthy
stroked the blue in your eyes
even though your custom
was to wear a tieless shirt underneath

The ugly gray suit
you used to wear
seemed to have been your favorite
though for it, no one else cared

It made you look sickly
the color was drained
but it makes me smile
to remember you in it  

The night of the viewing
I wasn't prepared
to see you look different
in the casket lying there

Everyone else always looks so nice
until it's YOUR daddy
looking cold, dead and still

I think you would have been pretty
if instead you could wear
the pastel colored flannel—
my favorite shirt

But then I couldn't wear it
that soft, warm cover
and I guess it doesn't matter
because I can't even remember
what it was that you did have on

But whether or not
you were dressed in this or that
one thing is for sure
my daddy's in there

for it's not the outside
that I remember best
but what's on the inside
that will never lay to rest

White coat—in those days, he was a chemistry professor.

Black coat—Father of the bride.
My brother, Adriel, taking a picture of my parents. Love that plaid shirt, Daddy!
Ah yes...that navy blue suit (without a tie).

This was after the concert I did to raise funds for my very first CD—Under the Big Blue Sky.
My father gave me the money to have nice invitations made so I could invite my friends.
No one knew I was writing music in those days, so that concert was a big step for me.

I love you Daddy.