Songs for Papa
Our Attic Bedroom has become home to a recording studio….
a few years ago, my Papa ( my mother’s father, and only living grandfather) said he’d like a recording of Mark and I singing and playing a few songs. Every Christmas and birthday of his, I have felt terrible for not giving him a recording. Such a simple request, and my only excuse was not having enough time. and maybe a little scared of my ability to even attempt it. And when I think of what gift to get a man who has everything, and wants nothing (except another horse maybe, you see my Papa is a real live farmer and cowboy) I am reminded that the best gift I can give him is time.
And isn’t that the whole reason “maker people’ give handmade gifts? It’s not so much a pair of mittens, or a quilt, it’s a gift of time. Time that could have been spent in so many other ways. Time that it takes to make one stitch at a time, thinking about your recipient every row. Imagining your handmade item as a comfort when the are cold. Even if that sweater you spent so much time on sits in a closet and never sees the light of day, it’s still a reminder of the passage of time spent of someone else. I’ve never seen someone make something special for someone they don’t in fact, like very much.
So admidst the craziness of christmas gift making and buying, Mark and I decided that the Songs for Papa had to happen. In the beginning, we picked out some songs we thought Papa might know, or at least ” get”. This wasn’t the time to try a cover of a Radiohead song, It was about singing and playing,f or their own sake. We started with some Johnny Cash, Elvis, and James Taylor. Mark got busy setting up his recording studio, a microphone here, a guitar there, A mixing board he scavenged from a church that was getting new equipment. When it finally hit me. THIS is Mark’s knitting. Every instrument tuned, every level balanced was a labor of love, not just for my Papa, but for me.
Then we turned off all the things in he house that could make noise. no dishwashers, kitty confides to a room downstairs, and the furnace fan turned off. And off we went, reminding ourselves of how fun it is to just sing and play. Sometimes We’d do just one guitar at a time, sometimes both of us, sometimes just one of us playing and singing. Sometimes Mark I and would sing together over a track of guitars cringe at each other when we were flat, high five each other when we made it though a song with out any major mistakes. In the next few days, Mark will work his magic, editing out any white noise, and sour notes. Well burn a copy or two to CD, a far cry from the records my Papa most likely listened to at my age. I hope when it is all said and done, Papa will consider it, time well spent .