Saturday, September 8, 2012

30 Years.

My life and the lives of every member of my family changed forever 30 years ago.  My dad died unexpectedly at the much-too-young age of 54.  Not a day has gone by since then that I haven't felt his presence, haven't smiled thinking about his spirit, haven't wished he could be with us.  Those of you who have lost a parent know the devastation that engulfed us and that even today brings forth moments of sorrow and tears.  Even now, I find it so difficult to write about that day 30 years ago, but sometimes I write down little memories when I'm feeling a need to connect with Dad.  

I wrote about my dad in one of my writing classes not too long ago.  The prompt was actually to write about the role that music has played in my life, but my version ended up being about my dad.  I can't think of a better time to share this than on this day.

                  Music has always been such an important part of my life.  From the time we were babies, my father instilled in us a strong appreciation for all kinds of music--especially country music.    In the evening, after he had worked hard all day, he would pick up his guitar and sit in his favorite chair and begin strumming chords.  That would be the moment we all waited for.  We would gather around him, hurrying to be first so we could sit in the chair with him, and just listen for a while.  Our anticipation would build as Dad just sat and strummed and hummed for a bit.  Finally, the moment would come when he would begin a song we knew.  It was then the magic would begin.  The sing-along had started!  Dad had a repertoire of songs that we loved, and he would play them all during  sing-along nights.  The one song I always waited anxiously for was “You Grab a Line.”  Or the title might be “Crawdad Hole”—I'm not sure and it doesn’t even matter.    When Dad had played enough of an intro for me to recognize that it was my song, I could hardly contain myself.  I would sing at the top of my lungs, most likely off key, as my dad and brothers and sister sang, too, although not quite as loudly.  When the next line was “we’ll go down to the crawdad hole” my dad would lower his voice in a baritone style to sing it, and we all would laugh and giggle at the unexpected yet familiar sound of his voice.  The sing along would last for maybe thirty minutes and then the moment we all dreaded came—Dad would get up and put the guitar away,  The magic was over for that night, and we all went about our evening rituals of homework, reading, or watching television, already counting down the hours until the next sing-along!

My oh-so-cool dad--black leather jacket/hat and all!!

The poem we wrote for Dad:

Oftentimes I find myself looking for reasons to believe 
in music . . . 
and in my dad. 

And I ALWAYS find them!