We arrived at Mom and Dad's yesterday afternoon. Already set up on the desk under the window in their office was a reel-to-reel tape machine, all cued up. On our last visit I'd recalled a set of interviews with Grandaddy Tarbox and had wondered if I could hear them sometime.
That sometime was today. This morning while Mom and Dad were at a doctor's appointment I sat in front of that machine and listened to the voice of my paternal grandfather, which I'd not heard in over 38 years. The tapes were made in 1969 (March, I think); he died in August 1971.
That soft voice with an accent, a distinct accent, one I didn't notice while growing up. But, how singular it is, listening to it now. Charleston? Southern, but not a drawl. Perhaps, it's coastal.
He talked about his days of flying, about the hurricane of 1904. Never an enthusiastic talker, the tapes were interviews with several individuals, from my dad to a couple of young boys in Georgetown, and Grandaddy didn't make it easy for them! He gave short answers. If the question asked for a "yes" or a "no," that's what the questioner got. Toward the end of the third tape, though, a woman whose name I didn't get, sat with him and one of his photograph albums. She would comment on something in one of the photos -- bird eggs, wrecked boats -- and that got him talking.
I found myself simply hearing the voice, not actually following the words. Not only am I an indulged woman. I'm vastly, wonderfully rich.