My father was a self-taught mandolin player.He was one of the best string instrument players in our town. He could not read music, but if he heard a tune a few times, he could play it.
When he was younger, he was a member of a small country music band. They would play at local dances and on a few occasions would play for the local radio station.
He often told us how he had auditioned and earned a position in a band that featured Patsy Cline as their lead singer. He told the family that after he was hired he never went back.
Dad was a very religious man. He stated that there was a lot of drinking and cursing the day of his audition and he did not want to be around that type of environment.
Occasionally, Dad would get out his mandolin and play for the family. We three children: Trisha, Monte and I, would often sing along. Songs such as the Tennessee Waltz, Harbor Lights and around Christmas time, the well-known rendition of Silver Bells. “Silver Bells, Silver Bells, its Christmas time in the city” would ring throughout the house.
Dad loved to play the mandolin for his family. He knew we enjoyed singing, and hearing him play. He was like that. If he could give pleasure to others, he would, especially his family.
He was always there, sacrificing his time and efforts to see that his family had enough in their life. I had to mature into a man and have children of my own before I realized how much he had sacrificed.
In August of 1993 my father was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He chose not to receive chemotherapy treatments so that he could live out the rest of his life in dignity.
About a week before his death, we asked Dad if he would play the mandolin for us. He made excuses but said “okay”. He knew it would probably be the last time he would play for us. He tuned up the old mandolin and played a few notes.
When I looked around, there was not a dry eye in the family. We saw before us a quiet humble man with an inner strength that comes from knowing God, and living with him in one's life.
Dad would never play the mandolin for us again. We felt at the time that he wouldn't have enough strength to play, and that makes the memory of that day even stronger.
Dad was doing something he had done all his life, giving. As sick as he was, he was still pleasing others.
Dad sure could play that mandolin!
有时候，父亲会放下他的乐队而为他的家庭演奏曼陀林。崔莎(Trisha)，蒙特(Monte)和我经常会一起歌唱，诸如田纳西华尔兹(Tennessee Waltz)，海港的灯火(Harbor Lights)等经典歌曲。而且每逢圣诞期间，家喻户晓的歌曲《银色铃铛》(Silver Bells)会在我们的屋子中回响不绝，“银色铃铛，银色铃铛，这是城市的圣诞时光...”