Personal Reflection on My Papa's Waltz
Reading this poem brings back memories from my early child - Personal Reflection on My Papa's Waltz introduction. I remember being ten or eleven and going to daddy daughter dances at the community center. When they discuss the Whiskey on his breath, I remember smelling the grease on my father. He was never one to drink, which is something I find very respectable; but he worked in a GM factory so he smelled often smelled of grease. This became a comforting smell since as a child I always associate with my father.
Dancing at these dances was never easy since my father is a bigger man. His belly often made our dancing difficult, but I was always dancing since I would just stand on his toes as he held my hand. This made my dancing easier than the romping around that the father and son do in the poem. In the second stanza I can’t find as many things relatable, but I feel like my mother was upset she didn’t have something like this with my brother or me.
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We would dance and dance until I couldn’t stay on his toes anymore, and after telling my mom about it afterwards I feel as though it’s upsetting that she didn’t have a night like that with either of us; but still knowing she could come up with something to do with us if she really wanted to. She often did come up with other things, but a special night for us both to get dressed up and spend the evening together was always nice. I also relate to the third stanza in multiple ways. It states that the hand holding them is battered on one knuckle, which is common for my father’s hands that crack with the slightest dry weather.
I was also familiar with having something happen every time there is a misstep. In the poem it states “At every step you missed my right ear scraped a buckle”, but if we missed a step I’d fall off of his feet. A majority of our time at the dances were me being righted on his feet so we could continue dancing. Within the fourth stanza, it states that he beat time on his head. After a daddy daughter dance at the center, I was often asleep before we even got home. This was a big night for me with my mom getting me all dressed up and my hair done. I remember wearing white dresses trimmed with gold and my sparkly gold shoes.
I loved getting my hair done and all dolled up to go spend time with my dad. By still clinging to his shirt, I relate to often being carried into the house to my bed after these nights. It was common for me to be carried into my bedroom and laid down to sleep. I chose this poem because reading it brought up all of these thoughts and memories. A long night with my father dancing away on his toes is a fond memory of my childhood. I think nights like this as a child has turned me into a daddy’s girl today, even at the age of 18. It’s nice having such good memories between us to look back on, and I’m grateful I have these memories with him.