My Dad's Squeaky Clean Love

Posted June 16, 2011 by jimhigley

My dad, Bob Higley

I’ve been traveling a little bit these days. Nothing fun. Just travel. As any road warrior will tell you, time away from family and home gets very old. Very fast.

My dad was also a frequent business traveler. I’m not exactly sure where he went. Or what he did while away. I just knew that every few weeks he’d leave the house early to catch a flight to some other city. I never really thought too much about the details of his adventures or itinerary.

I only cared about one thing.

That he’d return home with something for me.

And as best as I remember, he always did.

T-shirts? Nope. Snow globes? Naw. Pennants with the name of a professional sports team? Wrong again. Too predictable for my dad.

What he brought me was a bar of soap. Travel soap. From his hotel. And I loved receiving every one of them. It was the childhood equivalent to receiving the key to a city from the mayor. I was fascinated by the different names stamped on the wrapper. Howard Johnson, Holiday Inn, The Calgary Inn. I treated my soap like baseball trading cards. In fact, I believe I was the only kid in the neighborhood who didn’t have a cherished baseball card collection. Why would I? I had a drawer full of soap from faraway places. And each one was carried home specifically for me by my dad.

Did I care that I eventually had numerous duplicate bars of soap from the same hotel? Heck no. Was I crushed when an occasional bar would arrive home broken or dented as it bumped around on its journey to me? Not a chance.

I didn’t mind the aroma permeating from the special bathroom drawer I used as the sacred holding place for all the soap and I gladly ignored the teasing from my older brothers who complained about the flowery fragrance in our shared bathroom.

I simply cared that I got my bar of soap. Each trip. Each time.

It was one of the many things that reminded me that my dad was thinking of me.

I woke up this morning in Atlanta. In an $89 motel near the airport. I hadn’t planned on staying there. But bad weather, a missed connection, and a couple other bumps created my overnight excursion to the Peachtree City. It wasn’t the best of motels. Not all that clean, either. I’ll spare you the details.

But as I hurried to get ready this morning, I noticed two bars of soap stacked neatly next to the bathroom sink. Both were wrapped in a generic white paper. And both were stamped with the words “Have a Good Day!”

So I did what felt natural. I put one of the bars in my briefcase to carry home and throw in my bathroom drawer.

My dad’s been gone a long time. But I still feel him. Usually it’s in the smallest things.

I like what I felt this morning. It’s something every kid on this planet deserves.

The feeling of their father’s love.

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