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Bob Lind, Published June 15 2013

Lind: ND man’s poem pays tribute to father’s ‘big shoes’

Lawrence Munson left big shoes for his son to fill.

Background: Lawrence worked for the Northern Pacific Railway in the maintenance of way department for 43 years, all in North Dakota.

It was while he and his wife, Amy, were living in New Rockford, N.D., that their son Larry was born.

Larry, who has moved around, is back living in New Rockford. He writes that through his father, his paternal grandfather, some uncles and himself, there are collectively more than 100 years of railroading in the family, all for the Northern Pacific.

“Although we lived in various North Dakota towns as I was growing up,” he says, “I consider New Rockford my home town.

“I went to school in Heaton from the fifth grade through high school, and we moved back to New Rockford in 1960.

“Together, my father and mother raised my sister Yvonne and myself and instilled ‘North Dakota values’ deeply in both of us.”

Larry’s mother died at age 63 in 1971, his father at age 80 in 1992.

Since he likes to write poetry, Larry has written poems in memory of both of his parents, and he sends along the one he wrote about his father, titled “Daddy’s Shoes,” as a tribute to all fathers on this Father’s Day:

My daddy had such great big shoes, it seemed to me when I was three.

Way back then my world was new, and Daddy bounced me on his knee.

Those great big shoes to me were toys, and I would play for hours, wearing them and making noise; they gave me magic powers.

As I grew older we would walk, and Daddy held my hand. He always listened while I’d talk; he’d always understand

Those great big shoes would walk so slow, as we strolled into the night. It seems to me he’d always know just how to say things right.

Now I’m older, time has passed, my childhood’s now old news. But memories will always last of Daddy and his great big shoes.

Those great big shoes I’ll try to fill; I’ll do the best I can. I know my daddy watches still, and wants to hold my hand.

Larry, 73, says, “I don’t know if anyone would be comfortable saying he has successfully filled his father’s shoes when you are as proud of your father as I am.

“I hope I have done a good job, as I am very proud of my four children and five grandchildren, if that is an indicator.”

It no doubt is, Larry. And all we dads join you celebrating today.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com