Being a child of an artist
Being the son of someone who loved music and loved to share
music with others, it was inevitable that he would hope his children might
follow in his footsteps. At the same time, he never pushed me into an activity
that I wasn't interested in, he did give me some gentle nudges over the years.
As the youngest of the three brothers, I suppose he looked at me as the last chance to be a part of music in at least a small way.
When I was in high school, he encouraged me to sign up for Robert King's fine chorus every year. When I became a high school senior, he reminded me it wasn't too late to join.
When I enrolled at the University, again he let me know that I would make a fine addition to Dr. Griffith's fine chorus. When my junior year was about to start, I was in his office when he asked, "Have you finally given up on being in a chorus?"
I answered, "The real question is if you, dad, have finally given up on me being in a chorus?"
We both laughed. I suppose he was a bit disappointed but he never let it show.
Still, there was an artistic side of me I didn't know was in me, until I picked up the hobby of photography. He was my biggest fan. Every time he came over to the house, he wanted to see some pictures I had taken. Every so often, he would email me some of my photos and ask for me to make some 4x6 prints.
In the Spring of 2007, it all came together. He put on a reunion concert inviting all his former students to get back together for one grand finale'. He needed someone to capture the event because everyone else was going to be rehearsing and performing. (He actually needed two of us, there was so much going on that my big brother Scott was there to get what I couldn't.) From there, my dad started the NEME and I wanted to be a part of it in my own photographic way.
Dad had a favorite photo from 2009. My wife and I had hiked to a waterfall in July and you could see a tiny little MariLynn at the base of a 60 foot waterfall. My dad had an old grungy mousepad, and for his birthday I took that picture and had it printed on a new mousepad. scheduling conflicts kept coming up, and he never got that mousepad.
After he died, I didn't want to pick up a camera. Then, on Monday, it was time for his burial for our small family gathering. A sunny day wouldn't have felt appropriate, but the snow was just lovely and I brought my camera to the graveside service.
The last clod of Earth had been placed over his vault with the
casket spread flowers laid in the middle. My parents headstone was still placed
to the side and I saw a great photo opportunity.
The photo was beautiful.
My dad would have been proud.
The thought of that has made me cry ever since.