The Records

WaddlesMy father died half a century ago in the summer of 1969, and five months later I was born. I've always wondered how you can miss someone you've never met, but I've missed him my whole life. 

This isn't to say that I've suffered. When I was three years old my mother married again to a man I've been fortunate enough to call Dad ever since, and it would be an understatement to say that I've lived a privileged life. 

Even so, something has always been missing. Some of my earliest memories involve listening to stories about my father told by mother, and other family members have always been generous with their memories as well. I know my father. He was thoughtful and kind, he held together a wide network of friends, he enjoyed smoking a pipe from time to time, and he was a fan of the Detroit Tigers -- though he also grew to like Cleveland's Larry Doby and the Giants' Willie Mays.

But more important than any of that, he was a music lover. I have a few of things of his, like the tie he wore on the day he married my mother, his chess set, and his favorite chair, but his most visible presence in our house is his music, hundreds of vinyl records, an eclectic collection of jazz, classical, and other genres, but all his. All mine.

Years ago when I began building a collection of my own, his collection was the inspiration for many of the CDs I bought. So I've listened to some of the music that he did, but I've only taken a few of his records out of their sleeves. Perhaps the last time any saw the light of day might have been on a Sunday morning back in the 1960s when my father pulled one from the cabinet, set it on his turntable, gently dropped the needle, and filled his living room with music.

Six decades later, I'll do the same. Each Sunday morning I'll choose a record from the shelf, sometimes at random and other times with purpose, and listen. I'll write about the journey here, but I can't really predict what this writing will look like. Sometimes I'll write about the music, sometimes I'll write about my father, sometimes I'll write about something else. I look forward to finding where this takes me. You're welcome to come along, but even if no one ever reads these words, it won't matter.