Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Audio memory

A few posts ago, I wrote about a scent memory that I had which reminded me of my days working at the college museum.

Tonight, as we do on most Tuesdays, we drove to Hilliard to attend our Bible study group made up of old friends from our first church. While it is sometimes hard to fit the drive into our weekly schedule, we find time to do it most days.

Since it is Autumn, it is dark when we are driving home on the interstate, crossing the top of the city's outerbelt around 9 pm. Maybe it was the slight chill in the air, certainly it was the darkness, but most importantly, it was the sounds that made it all come back to me.

The low, throaty ululation of the tires rotating on the asphalt.

The creak of the brake pedal being depressed and the slow rhythmic slowing of the car as it pulls up to a stop sign.

The sound of a hand rubbing along a turning steering wheel. The slight whoosh of air as another car passes on the other side of the road.

I heard all of these things as we drove back off the interstate and through the streets to our house. It reminded me of the trips to see my grandmother in Kentucky during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, driving the last thirty miles or so through the state highways and country roads of Western Kentucky, after nightfall and following a long day of very rhythmic interstate monotony.

Those last few miles through the Kentucky darkness, through my unfamiliarity, into my Dad's childhood always sounded different than the 400 miles of I-75 that proceeded it. I always wondered how my Dad did it, driving those last miles in the darkness, into his past, never needing a roadmap, always knowing where he was going.

Of course he knew where he was going.

I look at my hands now and I see that they are of my Dad's hands. Certainly my hands are not his hands. They have been put to different uses in their past and have different stories to tell. But they are related to one another. The shapes are similar; the hair patterns are familiar.

I now know something of what it is to be a Dad. I wonder if my kids think similar things of me when we drive at night. Do they wonder how I keep it all straight? Do they wonder if I understand everything, that I have everything in control? I certainly wondered that about my own Dad at times. I never worried about his state of mind. I never worried that he wasn't certain about who he was, what he was doing, and the daily pressures of his job, his faith, his work.

I think I know enough now to realize that he did have all of these worries, these fears and I was simply too young and inexperienced to realize it.

And that is how it should be.

God bless youth. May those of us that are older remember that innocence and take advantage of that perspective when we need it the most.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you for writing this