Mio Babbo

by Catherine Down

My earliest memory is sitting in a submarine with my dad and looking out of a porthole to see a red octopus. This makes us sound a lot cooler than we actually are.

The submarine was just part of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Disney World. I was two years old during that trip and I kicked the trip off with a bang. Literally. First day of vacation, I was jumping on a bed and fell off breaking my arm. Although I don’t recall this part, apparently the entire time we spent waiting in the emergency room I just kept repeating “Dudda Dudda Dudda” (my version of Dada) non-stop.

When my bike was stolen earlier this week (sob), it was all I could do to keep myself from calling Dudda Dudda Dudda. I’m not really sure how I thought a man a continent away could make the situation any better but in times of crisis he’s the one I turn to. I’m pretty confident he can fix just about any problem. There would be peace in the middle east if Jim Down set his mind to it. The man is superhuman.

He doesn’t have a cape, but he does more or less live on an airplane. My dad traveled even more when I was younger so that the time we got to spend with him at home always seemed really special even when we were only doing routine household chores. Rolling coins, gardening, washing cars by hand, and shining shoes are all activities I explicitly associate with spending time with my dad. Slim Jim is nothing if not efficient and child labor is a great way to get things accomplished. My sister likes to joke that we learned how to shine shoes at an early age, probably before we could talk.

I still love to shine shoes. And spend time with my dad.