A Dead Guys Stuff Shows How to Walk the Walk

A Dead Guys Stuff Shows How to Walk the Walk

My Father’s Boots.


When my dad passed away in 2006, family members each got to pick things from his house and have things from his life’s collections and home. I mindfully choose his work boots.


14 years and several moves later, they hang in my home where I see them almost daily and can gently touch the laces or worn leather to remind me, he is always with me.



I watched him walk and live his life in those boots. As a little girl on the farm, I heard them from my upstairs farmhouse bedroom, thump on the kitchen floor in the morning as he seemed to purposely drop them extra hard to wake us at sunrise.



I heard them thump on the floor after he would come home exhausted from a day’s
work providing for us on the family farm.  I heard them when we moved off the farm after a series of heart attacks, and he continued to work daily to support his family. Those boots always were on his soles, to feed not only us, but to quietly feed our souls in his own way.



Every day. He methodically untied them, set them one by one to the side. Then when he was done for the day, he would drop them by the kitchen bench, and they would land with a loud, tired



The next morning, as the smell of Folgers coffee brewed, WNAX-AM “Your Big Friend in the Midwest “radio station loudly announced the farm markets and local news and the smell of whatever his cast iron frying pan breakfast was that morning filled the house; his boots
waited for his return to face another day.



They carried him through the 1920s, 1930’s, and then they became the boots of a World War II solider. The boots he wore saw the changing times of the world from 1919-2006 carrying him
through it all.


He always purchased boots of quality that would stand the test of time. Their solid build held him through a marriage & creation of a family, and then the loss of his son.

The leather pull on the backs, were tugged on many times with held back words, fears, and tears. The strong leather and soles supported him through making the memories, and the loss of memories, as he laced them up daily through our moms long, drawn out years of dementia and her passing.


He would wear them until they were about worn out before replacing them, alternating them between a pair of work shoes and casual shoes.  A combination of 3 pair of sturdy, faithful shoes & boots were all he needed to carry him through his life.



He wore them while he taught, yelled, or scolded me or while silently let me learn hard lessons.  He wore them fishing to relax, or while he rested in his recliner for a quick nap, or as he held a new grandbaby for the first time, or let the grandchildren play in the garage by his side.


While he suffered from heart disease and then faded too fast from cancer, he wore them to re-live his memories and stories; to teach us lessons and give us final instructions on how to go on with him not in this earthly world.


His walk was not perfect in life.
The boot strings would often break, He would be a lost soul at times, but he would knot them back together and lace it back up to face another day. The hooks would bend and need to be gently pushed back into shape to hold the laces again. The boots were stained and soiled from sweat and tears of his and the others he quietly loved.



The laces that physically held the boots on and together through his life, now spiritually bind us together.  As we move through this Easter with laces that cannot be tied and our connections with loved ones are separated; and the houses of Our Father look much different than any other Easter in our memories, we need to remember that even though we are apart, we are always together.


Leather Boots


May you have a blessed Easter and rejoice, as soon our ties will be reunited with our friends and families and gatherings will happen again.






An Epidemic Inside a Pandemic: Un-Wired Connections & Loneliness

An Epidemic Inside a Pandemic: Un-Wired Connections & Loneliness

Artists are lonely.  We are stereotyped as loners, but are we? We appreciate and see a beautiful sunrise unlike others, we notice everything, or we focus in on one specific thing. Our brains are wired to connect things in a different way. But are we “loners”?

One The Edge – Dayle Sundberg

It is quiet when the sun rises, birds chirping, water rippling, wind rustling, cool air touching your face. Quiet. Peaceful and beautiful, another new day filled with hope.  A new day.

“She holds the day in the palm of her hand” – Photo: Dayle Sundberg

It is quiet. But like TOO much quiet. A type of hellish quietness that just continues day after day.  An epidemic within a pandemic affecting every age. A type of hellish quietness, also known as loneliness.  Maybe you are watching a parent sit alone in a care facility with little to no interaction with the world outside the staff. Maybe you have a young person who should be chasing others at recess, having big birthday parties, attending rite of passages like first dates, Prom, or other cultural events that mark significant points in life. We are missing that connection in the wiring.

It does not take much searching online to find studies and research on the rise in loneliness, or how the past year has affected not only physical health, but mental health.  Harvard, the CDC, and others have scary rates of the rise of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and suicide. I could link all the articles for you, however, that would take up pages.

I admit it, I am lonely. It is TO DAMN QUIET.  I am an artist, self-proclaimed “loner”, we spend hours upon hours in our own little worlds creating without any disturbances and we get all flubery-busted when someone interrupts for something trivial, like food, water, or sleep. 

Working quietly in my studio.

The quietness of being socially distanced is, well a deafening silence.  Humans were made for connections and thrive from that connection and intimacy of a relationship.  Keep us isolated and things happen, like thoughts that repeat over and over, chewing nails, cutting, over-eating, sleeping too much, binge watching movies, addictions to substances or screens, and the list goes on, but it looks a lot like anxiety, depression, and yep, you guessed it, loneliness. We are un-wired, with connections missing.

Here, but not complete.

Not only are adults feeling it, but young people who are developing social skills needed to become productive adults that shape out future are suffering with it.  Because of the obvious risks during the pandemic of needing to social distance, and depending on technology to connect, learn, shop, and interact it has become un-normally normal to be apart. Being physically distanced and separated from other people puts one in a state of physiological stress, and when it continues day after day it can become a chronic condition damaging to your physical and emotional health, according to former (and recently confirmed again) U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. 

“I found that people who struggle with loneliness, that that’s associated with an increased risk of heart disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and even premature death,” Dr. Vivek Murthy told NPR.  


Now, knowing how art has trained me to be a “loner” and I practiced this loneliness thing in my studio for hours upon hours, I also know how art has helped my mental health.  Connecting your thoughts and feelings in your head to paper, canvas, or another media can help one maneuver through the mess of crossed wires in our brains and bodies. 

Art helps heal and can bring connections and community together through creating and sharing.  I have created a way to help move my dark, deep thoughts from my body to art and create a safe space to share.  Art heals. Art re-wires. Art creates connection.  

Healing House – Dayle Sundberg Art

Are you ready to try art for a connection?