Saturday, January 28, 2023

Down Memory Lane

You can ask my wife about my memory.  She would say (lovingly so) that my memory is selective.  I admit, there are some things I should remember, but I don't.  Short term things sometimes get by me.  I wish I could tell you why - they just do.  

Given this important background, why would I endeavor to write about my memories from long ago?

Shoot, I've read where it's normal to forget things as we age.  I can tell you so many times when I've walked into room and stood there for a moment, wondering... "Now, what did I come in here for?"  Normally, I retrace my steps and within a few moments, I recall the primary reason I went into that room in the first place.  I attribute these moments to having too many things on my mind or something momentarily distracts me from where I was headed.  It happens and usually, this is not a big thing.  

But there are some things I can remember with such clarity - things that took place years ago, when I was younger.  I have no real business remembering them nor do I have any inclination that I was even thinking about a specific memory.  Something will trigger a certain memory of an event that happened so long ago.  Right out of the blue.  It's a nice surprise when that happens for that very reason - I hadn't thought about that particular event for so long.  I wondered why I hadn't forgotten it completely.  

I guess some things are meant to be remembered when you need to remember them.  That's what I really enjoy writing about - things that happened down memory lane.

I hope that I remember that in my next article.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Gentle Man's Guitar

Just as abruptly when I paused blogging any thoughts, I return to these online printed pages.  So much has happened since my last entry that I'm not really certain where to begin.  Perhaps the most significant moment happened last February when my father died at the age of 96.  He lived a long and full life, I know.  Since he departed this world, I have thought about him many times during the passing of time... remembering his manner, his words, his encouragement, his example.  He had a lot of all of those things going on - living nearly 97 years will do that for you.

There are times when I catch myself sounding just like him... "Those cotton-pickin' rum dummies... why don't they just give the ball to the other team?" he would say gruffly to anyone who was within earshot.  It didn't really matter which team he was referring to - Vikings, Timberwolves, Gophers, Twins, Wild - they were all objects of his affection when it came to supporting a Minnesota sports team.  

In fact, it's funny how this last football season for the Vikings would have had him at his best with the topsy-turvy season the team had, winning so many games in the last minute.  Whenever he would get discouraged, he would get up from his chair, gather the Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar he had owned for decades and play the soft tones that he taught himself how to play over the years.  It was his way of soothing the agony of defeat.

Over the years, I've missed listening to my dad's gentle strumming of his guitar - mostly because I've been in the ministry for the past three decades.  But I am reminded of his music whenever I hear a Chet Atkins song (which isn't too often).  Chet Atkins was dad's guitar hero.  His guitar choice was the very same that Chet Atkins played.  He learned his style and taught himself how to play listening to many of Chet Atkins songs... you can listen to a few of them here.  

Of course, dad wasn't anything near Chet's level of proficiency, but that matters little.  His sound was soft and gentle and pleasing to the ear.  I hear the echo of my father playing his guitar when I hear an Atkins tune.  

I miss my dad... his gentle and soothing guitar playing.  

I miss him now more than ever.