In the past when Papa was healthy, I learned of this parable in the Bible. I was so Enamored by that kind of love that I would ask if he or Mama would like for me to wash their feet. Only a few times did Mama succumb to my request. Even at night, her feet were too busy moving, rarely still enough for me to wash.
Papa, on the other hand, would sit in his favorite chair in the parlor and lay down the newspaper he had been reading. He would smile and laugh as I placed the soaped cloth between his toes. Our conversations would move from one subject to the next as quickly as a hummingbird searches for nectar. The ritual seemed to both invigorate and relaxed him.
Yet, when Papa had lain in his bed with a pneumonia-fed bad heart, it was not the same. Nothing was the same.
Nor will it be again.
Excerpt from Naked, She Lies, by C. Dennis-Willingham