Saturday, November 21, 2009

gifts from the heart

back in the late 50's or early 60's my dad sat down with my then very elderly grandfather and recorded him reciting poetry. i couldn't have been very old since i was born in '56 and i'm pretty sure my grandfather had to be nearing 80. the recordings were done over several sessions because my grandfather, who was a perfectionist, didn't work from notes, but from memory and got easily frustrated when he made a mistake. some of the poems r repeated several times on the tape -- since it was done over several sittings -- and it was originally taped on a reel-to-reel tape deck. eventually, that got transferred to a cassette tape with my dad adding a narrative of explanation at the beginning. my dad had a copy and my brother had a copy, but i never did and idk who of my dad's family had copies -- i suspect at least one of my uncles did.

at any rate, when we went to visit my dad this summer, the tape came up in discussion and dad dragged out his copy and we attempted to listen to it. nadda -- nothing -- zip -- zilch .... cassettes over time go bad, just like CDs do and so there was nothing left. my brother said his copy was fine and i asked if he could make me a copy because i had a plan.

earlier this year, i managed to discover that with a simple $10 cord, i could put cassette recordings into my computer using garageband and make mp3s from them. i had done it with some other recordings on cassette (mostly prophetic words that ppl had spoken over me) and it worked great. so with the copy of my brother's tape, i went to work.

now i have to preface this a bit because my old tape player had died before i completed my project with the prophetic words and when i went shopping for another one i found they were high priced and few and far between. i had looked in several second hand stores on a continuing basis to only come away empty handed and disappointed. here's where a god moment comes in. while at a second hand store with a friend i happened to look down and there was a small hand-held sony one for $4. so i bought it knowing i could bring it back if it didn't work. however, it worked perfectly. now if i hadn't gone to the second hand store with the friend that day i would not have found it. it was such a god moment to be at that store at that time, standing in that exact spot and then looking down to see it. i love when papa god helps me with a problem.

i set about downloading the cassette recording into the computer and all the while listening to the poems and making notes. listening to my grandfather's voice and hearing him chuckle at certain humorous parts. i went searching for some of the lines to the poems using google because there were only a few that i knew the names to in order to find them. i found all but one of the poems. it took me an entire day and my arm was really sore from using the mouse, but i wanted to make cds for my dad and uncles and brother with not only the recordings on it, but the poetry as well.

when i do things like this -- which in reality cost me very little money since i already have the cds -- i tend to go at it full force -- nothing done halfway and we have my dad to thank for that ethic. and i can see -- by listening to the poems -- where his work ethic was formed. several of the poems spoke to a job well done and living right. if my grandfather knew them by heart -- they meant enough to him to carry them there and model his life after them. i'm sure all of his many children learned from his values.

i'm still holding out hope that i'll find the words to the last poem before christmas rolls around. i was hoping to give them as presents. very inexpensive -- but given with lots of love and lots of meaning. sometimes it isn't about what u buy when u present someone -- sometimes its about the thought that goes into it that really matters.

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