He missed an enormous part of my mom's, my sister's and my lives; and there was so much that he would have loved. And we would have loved sharing all those things with him too. It wasn't his choice, of course, we understand that. Nevertheless, it was not to be and now all we have are memories.
For instance, the little post below, about tone-deaf elephants.... that brings back a memory about my dad and music.
You first should know that everyone in my mom's family could sing. A big family in the Depression didn't have much outside entertainment, so they entertained themselves, singing together around the radio, or while doing the dishes and chores. Pop songs were a big part of their lives. My mom passed that love of singing to both Little Sis and I. The Big Guy and I met in the college choir, so he could sing too and much later that ability to sing went on down to Ratchlet and M-t-G. If we are in the car on a road trip, sooner or later we start to sing. Its great fun. And we do sound pretty good too! We even do harmony! It's kind of a family tradition!
When I was a little girl (even before Little Sis was born), we had to drive a minimum of 50 miles or more to get to a larger town where we could go shopping for whatever we needed, like clothes or Christmas presents and so on. So we would get in the car with Daddy driving and head off to West Palm Beach or Tampa or Orlando several times a year. And on every single trip we sang going and coming back. And after L.S. was old enough she would join us.
Now have you noticed that there is one name missing from those stories of singing??? My dad. Dad could whistle in tune, he had a good sense of rythmn, he could dance, he could hear when someone else was sharp or flat, he knew all the old songs, just like Mom. But what he couldn't do was.....sing! He wasn't tone deaf if he could whistle in tune, but he just could not match tones. His singing voice just could not be in the same place on the scale that everybody else's was. That ability was just not there. He wasn't exactly a "Poor Johnny One-Note", but it was close.
Unfortunately, that missing element made him sound awful when he sang. Truly painful. You couldn't sing along with him because it inevitably sounded like we were all singing different songs! We couldn't stay in tune while he was all over the place! And oh, how we tormented him about it! It was this big family joke, dad would start to sing along with us and after about 5 notes, he was off into a different musical universe, and the rest of us (well, that would be just me, mostly) would cover our ears and yell at him....."Oh no, Daddy, don't sing! You sound awful!! Please don't sing!" And then we would all laugh and he would stop singing and just listen the rest of the way.
It makes me cringe to write that. I can't believe we (mostly me) would repeatedly hurt him like that and he never once got mad! Never. He always laughed about it, but still I'm embarrassed that I didn't really know how cruel I was being.
You see, the saddest part was that Daddy loved music just like all of us. He just wanted to share in the fun we were having and be a part of it. He knew that he couldn't sing (heaven knows, we told him so often enough!), still he wanted to so much....but we wouldn't let him. I'm really sorry, Daddy!
I'd give a lot to sing with him now.