Monday, December 10, 2012

ACCM - Dec 10 - The Gift of Music

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

This year I want to write down my memories of a special gift from my Daddy when I was in 4th or 5th grade.  Mother was the one who bought presents and wrapped them, but this year a gift was placed under the tree that was obviously a record album.  I could tell Mother hadn't wrapped it because we didn't have that wrapping paper.  The gift tag said it was from "Dady" to me.  That made it special even before it was unwrapped and I had some fun teasing Daddy and calling him "Dad-Y".
When we finally opened presents on Christmas Eve, I was a little surprised and a little disappointed to find the album was "Sing a Hymn with Me" by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Just what every girl that age wanted for Christmas, right?  I know Daddy loved gospel music so I felt it was partly because he wanted it and probably teased him about that as well.  The truth is, I enjoyed it and enjoyed listening to it with him; I listened to it even when he wasn't around and I did sing along with Tennessee Ernie Ford.  As you probably have guessed, I still have it with my collection of records and it is priceless to me now.

Daddy couldn't carry a tune very well so he would just listen.  Since he was a preacher, I asked him about why he didn't sing at church when the Bible says "to make a joyful noise."  He told me then he couldn't sing, but he loved to listen.  That speaks volumes because the singing at most of the small country churches where he preached wasn't always on key or on tempo, but it was heart-felt.

A memory also associated with this gift of music is how we would listen to the "Old Time Camp Meeting" on the local radio station as we drove to Lawn, Texas where he preached for the Church of Christ for many years.  I can remember other times when he would listen to gospel quartets and his foot or hand would be quietly keeping time with the music as he smiled and often closed his eyes in enjoyment.

The album cover "opens into a special hymn book that includes complete words and music to all the hymns in the album."  All of the songs were familiar to me except "The Church in the Wildwood" and I learned to love it as well.  "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" was a favorite because when Daddy preached at the Church of Christ located at Plum and Wilson Streets in Abilene, church members would visit the Sunshine Nursing Home on Butternut Street to have a short worship service and sing.  There was a man who resided there who had had a stroke.  I wish I knew his name, but I only remember we called him "Gee Whiz".  That was because we would always sing that hymn for him and he would sit there, smiling and saying "Gee Whiz" as we sang it.  I cannot hear that song today with out smiling and whispering "Gee Whiz".  (As an aside, I also remember he had a small collection of wind up toys we'd sometimes get to see.)

"I Love to Tell the Story" is also a favorite hymn on the album.  I requested it to be sung at Daddy's funeral because he did love to preach The Gospel and tell the story that meant so much to him.

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