Dad, Fats, and Me #Poetry #Music

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago about something my father and I loved doing together. It was published in Magnets and Ladders. You can click on the title to hear me read it. Below the poem is a video of the song mentioned in the poem. Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

Dad, Fats, and Me

As the piano’s base notes
imitate baby elephant patter,
I stomp my six-year-old feet in time,
while sitting on the couch
across from Dad, sprawled in his easy chair,
his nose in a book.
He looks up, chuckles.

As Fats Waller sings no praises
to a woman’s over-sized feet,
I stand, stomp around the den.
Dad sings along–I giggle.

As the song crescendos
with blaring saxophone and trumpet,
I lift my feet,
bring them to the floor with purpose.

The record has other songs:
“The Joint is Jumpin’,” “Seafood, Mama,”
but my little feet always stomp in time
whenever I hear Fats say, “Your Feet’s Too Big.”

 

Fats Waller–Your Feet’s Too Big

 

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My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Monday Musical Memory: Oh My Papa

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.My father was a bear at times. He laid a hand to my hind quarters when I did something wrong. When my younger brother was suspended from high school for mooning out of a bus, he yelled, “When I see you, you’d better have a book in your hand. If you want to do something useful, chop wood.” He often got into shouting matches with my mother, especially when he was drunk.

Life with Dad wasn’t all bad, though. I spent many happy hours with him listening to jazz. At the age of six, my favorite song was Fats Waller’s “Your Feet’s Too Big.” When my younger brother and I formed a band with me on piano and him on drums, Dad often played along on string bass. When my younger brother developed an interest in photography, Dad helped him turn our third-floor bathroom into a dark room.

My father wasn’t like the papa in this Eddie Fisher song, who could be funny and adorable and would take you on his knee and change your tears to laughter. Nevertheless, he was a good man, and I loved him and learned a lot from him. May he rest in peace. Click the link below to hear me sing the song.

 

Oh My Papa

 

How about you? What was your father like? What did you enjoy doing with him? How did he punish you when you were bad? Happy Father’s Day in advance.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

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Reblog: Lessons from Dad


Here’s an oldie but a goody from several yeras ago. Enjoy, and Happy Father’s Day.

***

Lessons from Dad

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Lessons Learned from Dad Re-Visited

Note: I’m re-blogging this post from June 2013. Dad passed away two months after this went live. Enjoy, and happy Father’s Day.

***

My fondest childhood memories are of Dad and me listening to music together. Dad loved to play the old standards on those scratchy long-playing records by such artists as Fats Waller and Nat King Cole. These songs taught me lessons that I’m pretty sure Dad wanted me to learn.

If “The Joint is Jumpin,” you’re going to get in trouble. No man will like you if “Your Feet’s Too Big.” You’d better “Straighten Up and Fly Right.” I also learned to appreciate “Seafood, Mama” but not until I was an adult.

Dad also tried to teach me the value of money. He thought he’d succeeded until I sold my wheelchair accessible van last month because Bill was gone, and I no longer needed it. George, who responded to my ad, asked if I could take a thousand dollars off the asking price because the switch on the back of the vehicle that automatically opened the doors to the lift didn’t work, and the lift needed to be re-sized to fit his electric wheelchair. Because he appeared to be in desperate need of this vehicle, I agreed. Dad was livid. He claimed that it wouldn’t have cost a thousand dollars to fix these problems, but what he didn’t understand was a lesson I didn’t learn from him.

Although money is important, being helped and passing on that good deed to another is more valuable. Several years ago, Bill and I really wanted a van we could use to go places at night and on weekends when the local paratransit service wasn’t running. We were lucky to find someone willing to sell us such a vehicle at a price we could afford. When George came to my home in response to my ad, I could tell right away he was in the position we were in several years ago. I didn’t really need that extra thousand dollars, and he needed the van.

I leave you now with another lesson I did learn from Dad via Louis Armstrong. Despite the hateful things going on around us, we live in a “Wonderful World.” To my dad and others reading this, I hope you have a special Father’s Day.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

Saturday Song: Your Feet’s Too Big by Fats Waller

One of my earliest childhood memories is of listening to Fats Waller with Dad. One of my favorite tunes by this artist was “Your Feet’s Too Big.” I wrote a poem about Dad and me listening to this song together, which I’ll include below the video. You can click beneath the poem to hear me read it. Tune in tomorrow for a post about lessons I learned from Dad through music.

 

 

Dad, Fats, and Me

 

As the piano’s base notes

imitate baby elephant patter,

I stomp my six-year-old feet in time,

while sitting on the couch across from Dad,

who is sprawled in his easy chair, his nose in a book.

He looks up, chuckles.

 

As Fats Waller sings no praises

to a woman’s over-sized feet,

I stand, stomp around the den.

Dad sings along–I giggle.

 

As the song crescendos

with blaring saxophone and trumpet,

I lift my feet,

bring them to the floor with purpose.

 

The record has other songs:

“The Joint is Jumpin’,” “Seafood, Mama,”

but my little feet always stomp in time

whenever I hear Fats say, “Your Feet’s Too Big.”

 

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Musical Lessons from Dad

Note: In celebration of Father’s Day, I’ve revised and am re-blogging a post from June of 2013, the year my father passed away. He was still alive when this was posted.

***

My fondest childhood memories are of Dad and me listening to music together. Dad loved to play old standards on scratchy long-playing records by such artists as Fats Waller and Nat King Cole. These songs taught me lessons I’m sure Dad wanted me to learn.

If “The Joint is Jumpin’,” you’ll get in trouble. No man will like you if “Your Feet’s Too Big.” You’d better “Straighten Up and Fly Right.” I also learned to appreciate “Seafood, Mama” but not until I was an adult.

There’s one more lesson I learned from my father via Louis Armstrong. Despite the hateful things going on around us, we live in a “Wonderful World.” To all dads out there, I hope you have a special Father’s Day.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

 

 

A Poem for My Father’s Birthday

Dad would have been eighty today. One of his greatest loves was jazz, and I have many fond childhood memories of the two of us listening to such music together. You can watch a video of the song we often enjoyed. To hear me read the poem, click this link.

***

Dad, Fats, and Me

 

As the piano’s base notes

imitate baby elephant patter,

I stomp my six-year-old feet in time,

while sitting on the couch across from Dad,

sprawled in his easy chair, his nose in a book.

He looks up, chuckles.

 

As Fats Waller sings no praises

to a woman’s over-sized feet,

I stand, stomp around the den.

Dad sings along–I giggle.

 

As the song crescendos

with blaring saxophone and trumpet,

I lift my feet,

bring them to the floor with purpose.

 

The record has other songs:

“The Joint is Jumpin’,” “Seafood, Mama,”

but my little feet always stomp in time

whenever I hear Fats say, “Your Feet’s Too Big.”

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

 

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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