Saturday, July 24, 2010


Yesterday, the carpet cleaners came. Their pre-instructions had been to remove small and/or breakable items and they would handle the large items.

From behind the big easy chair in the living room, we took the many stacks of our old records... from back when we still called them records and albums, and they were monoraul, then hi-fidelity and then stereophonic...

This morning we sat in our library and sorted through the records, which we hadn't played for quite awhile. A stack of favorites was set beside the record player, and we began a sentimental round of listening.

First up was Mario Lanza's Christmas Classics. I know; it isn't Christmas, but it seemed appropriate on this "too-hot-for-anything-outdoorsy" day.

Wonderful--though there is a sad story behind the Lanza record. Over one Christmas season long ago, we had kept a 17-day vigil over Bob's dad, who had developed peritonitis and kidney failure after a botched appendectomy.

On Christmas Eve, Bob's father miraculously rallied; the doctors were extremely hopeful he would be returning home soon, and we were delirious with relief and happiness. We walked out into the snow together, feeling Christmas all around us.

Bob's father, who had sung opera in his youth, loved Mario Lanza. So we stopped at a record store and bought the Mario Lanza Christmas album and went home to play it as we decorated a Christmas tree. Christmas, indeed, had been put off way too long.

How could we have known that our cherished patriarch, Otmer Olden Moore, would soon pass away peacefully in the night, after we had celebrated a holiday that always meant a lot to him. His heart had simply given out.

For Christmases thereafter, we would start the holiday season by playing that record, though for years it brought tears to my eyes. After all, Christmas is---as most of us eventually will find---a bittersweet time when we enjoy the family togetherness but also miss every loved one we have lost.

As I write this blog, we're still playing our old records. It is now 2 p.m., hours after our marathon record-playing session began. We're listening at this moment to "Polly Bergen Sings Helen Morgan," and wondering why we ever let go of those wonderful female torch singers.

We still have an old Kristofferson record set aside; and some old jazz; music from the Old West and the Civil War; Herb Alpert; a bit of early rock and roll... and on and on...

If you have saved your own old music, try this sometime. It's like a date.

And for us today, it was also a bit like Christmas in July.