My hard-working, thrifty father

My father, my hero. Each evening about seven in my tiny apartment, the grand sonority of French horns rings out, echoing the rhythmic undulation of gentle valleys and hills. Sprightly flutes and tinkling triangles punctuate the majestic melody as it rises and falls, building tension and then, all at once, releasing it.  Mmm, a deep sigh. This television theme song, like ones in childhood memory, speaks of courage, fortitude, and persistence. Each evening, I sit in my old rocker, eating supper and watching an old television series or movie. Each evening, a comforting kinship with my father envelops me.

Back in the sixties, Westerns dominated weeknight TV. Two or three nights a week after supper, we three kids sprawled close to Daddy in his recliner, watching “Laredo” or “Maverick” while Mom had a few minutes to herself.

The music of hope. The theme music of those westerns we watched fit the grand scale of the mountains and plains of the southwest where they were filmed. The camera closed in on our cowboy heroes then panned back over broad vistas of lonely mesas and buttes. The good guys won, but always after a gutty scrap with the bad guys.

Daddy’s days in the rock mine began before sunup and ended after sundown. Looking back, I know the gallant music, the resplendent terrain, and the clarity of the story in those westerns galvanized his resolve to get up tomorrow, yet again, to provide for his family. His quietly heroic heart knew a comforting kinship on those evenings.

Hard-working and frugal. Now, each evening as I eat supper, the sympathetic melody reminds me how blessed we were. Our two hard-working, thrifty parents instilled into their children the same values, gifts more precious than diamonds. Each evening I thank God for my parents, for their gift of an unjealous heart, and for the magic of music that grips and fuels the soul.

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