We’ll be leaving Philadelphia to return to Kansas this summer: “Philadelphia Bucket List” is an occasional series of posts about what we’ll miss about this great city.
Everybody knows the Rocky Steps. Everybody who visits Philly has to visit the Rocky Steps. Why?
Do I really have to say? Because of this:
We visited soon after arriving in Philadelphia, of course. Everybody does. There's always somebody — often multiple somebodies — charging up the steps, then raising their fists in triumph at the top. Homeless guys hang out and offer to take pictures; there's a guy in a sweatshirt and porkpie hat, slightly Stallone-ish, who offers to be in the pictures.
None of that is why the Rocky Steps are on my list.
This is why:
Two months after my mom died in 2013, my dad came to visit us for the first time without her.
He and I walked and talked for a few days, stopping every now and again to sob. As deeply as I felt the loss, his pain (I know) was absolutely searing. One of our walks took us to the Philadelphia Museum of Art — we circled from the Schuylkill River Trail, on the back side, around to Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the steps in front.
I looked him, whipped out my cell phone, and told him to go.
And my father, deep in the earliest stages of widowerhood, bounded up the steps to the top, then raised his fists in triumph.
That's when I knew we would survive.