Sunday, 17 June 2012

Memories ... Memories.



Father Ignatius was certainly the product of his up-bringing.

Raised in a poor family who had known real hardship; yet at the same time a family held together, despite all the turmoil that life threw at them, by a common bond of mutual love and basic Christian principles.

It’s because of his up-bringing, and because he grew up with very little materially, that he developed a habit of frugality and saving whatever he could rather than wasting it away.

He had taken a private vow of poverty when he became a priest, and since then he spent as little as possible on himself. He was not mean in the sense of avarice since anything he had, or whatever else came his way in terms of money or goods, he eagerly shared with the poor in his parish.

The little he kept for himself was usually either books or certain items he had collected over the years and kept for their sentimental value.

One Friday afternoon he decided to clear up the spare room of personal items he had not used for ages. He decided to donate them to the rummage sale in aid of the elderly.

As he was searching through a box full of books he found an old vinyl record; the old 45 rpm type record, black in color in a torn paper sleeve. He looked at the title of the song and sat down on a nearby chair.

Suddenly, the memories came flooding fast. He held the record in his shaking hand, as tears welled up in his eyes. He hadn’t seen nor played it for years, yet here it was, like a ghost from years long past, awakening distant memories so long forgotten.

He remembered how, as a child, he had saved all his pocket money, and went to the music store after school to buy this particular record as a birthday present for his dear father. Now departed.

The song was quite popular then.

He remembered his father’s reaction when he opened the brown paper bag and pulled out the shiny black vinyl record.

His parental eyes welled up too all those years ago, the same as Father Ignatius’ eyes are welling up right now.

His father placed the record on the table and said nothing. He just held little Ignatius tightly in his strong arms and kissed his head gently. Ignatius was held so tight that he could hear his father’s heart beating in his chest.

He could hear it beating right now, as he sat there holding the record in his shaking hand. And strangely as it may seem, the experience also brought to mind the sweet smell of cooking as they all gathered there as a family in the kitchen that cold winter evening.

His mother moved towards the table, leaving for a moment the food on the stove, and picked up the record.

“How lovely …” she said as she read the title.

She too then hugged little Ignatius as tightly as she could.

The priest remembered that that particular day was the first and only time he had seen his father cry. Silently, he had wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and quietly said: “Thank you … son”.

He was a big strong man, not given to much emotions or small talk. He had probably invented the British stiff upper lip and kept his feelings well hidden within himself. Usually silent at the best of times; mumbling the odd “yes dear …” whenever his wife asked him something. A gentle giant in every respect.

His father had known extreme poverty and hardship throughout his life, having lived through the depression and economic crisis.

Father Ignatius recalled how his father told him that many a time, when he was a child during the depression, he had gone to bed at night with nothing to eat; because there was simply no food in the house. Those were terrible times indeed, as his father often recalled.

He remembered that his father had worked the land from the age of eleven, leaving school with little or no education. It was the done thing in those days, to work hard at an early age to help the family beat off starvation.

And in later years, as young Ignatius was growing up, his father still continued to work hard on the farm to bring enough food to feed his family. His mother too, took on washing to earn a few pennies to supplement the family budget.

Yet despite their impoverished state Ignatius never had to go hungry, as his father did before him; and he was always well dressed and cared for by his parents.

He wondered about all the sacrifices his parents must have made, and how much they had gone without, to ensure that Ignatius lacked nothing as he grew up.

Father Ignatius then brought to mind the day when, as a young man, he built up the courage to tell his parents after the evening meal that he had decided he wished to become a priest.

How he had feared their reaction on hearing the news.

Although they were a good Christian family, he often suspected that his father wanted him to take over the small farm he had built up over the years. How would he react to the news that his son would not follow in his footsteps as a farmer?

“Mom … dad … I’ve been thinking and praying about this for a while. I want to become a priest …” were the opening words to an announcement that he dreaded making.

His father just smiled gently and said: “Son … I am proud of you.”

Father Ignatius could hear those words ringing in his ears, as clear as if they’d just been spoken; and he sobbed gently as he remembered his parents now both in Paradise. No doubt looking down on him, and hopefully still proud of him.

He said a silent prayer as he wiped his eyes with his handkerchief.

He then went to his room and put the record on the turntable and one more time let the lyrics come to life.

16 comments:

  1. This is so lovely and meaningful, Victor:-) Music makes me feel emotional and nostalgic, too, so I could relate to Fr. Ignatius getting teary over his memories.

    But, I wish I could hear what the music is - we can't access this clip here. For some reason, it's not available in our region. What is the song, Victor?? I'd love to hear it:-)

    God bless, Victor:-)

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  2. What a beautiful post in honor of Father's Day, Victor. It brings up good memories of my own life. My Father has been ill since I was a child but whenever I woke up in the morning he would say, "Good morning, Mary Sunshine!" That was his nickname for me and I always loved it. Thank you for this post which has flooded my own mind with precious thoughts of my father. I'm going over to visit him after Mass this morning :)

    God bless and Happy Father's Day to you, Victor!

    Music can invoke good memories and so can beautiful words like the ones in your story!

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  3. Hi Vicky,

    Yes, music can sometimes bring back fond memories. I'm sorry you can't hear the song in Australia. Try this link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F-LqT3c-Ag&feature=player_embedded

    Or ask You Tube for Oh My Papa by eddie Fisher.

    Or try this link:

    http://www.we7.com/?gclid=CM2HqcvNt64CFYsntAodaFH1rg

    Please let me know if either works.

    Hi Mary,

    I'm glad this post brought you happy memories. Say Hi to your Dad from me when you see him today and wish him a Happy Day.

    God bless you Vicky and Mary.

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  4. I couldnt hear it either! It is being blocked for copyright reasons?

    Anyway, loved the story. Thanks!

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Colleen,
    Thanx for writing in. I don't understand what's going on. In the past You Tube videos have played OK both in Australia and USA as well as here in the UK.

    Did the other links I showed work? If one asks for Oh my Papa by Eddie Fisher on their You Tube - is it still blocked? Thanx.

    God bless you Colleen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember it well. It definitely goes a ways back.
    I’ve been a follower on your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Covnitkeprl,

    Your Blog is on my favorites list. I visit often but don't always have time to comment.

    Did the song play on You Tube where you are?

    God bless.

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  8. Here's another link for my readers to try. Still from You Tube. Same song - different video. Please let me know if it works.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y04seHfYLAA

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh I remember that song it brought up some good memories for me thaks, and what a lovely story

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  10. Hi Jo-Anne,

    It's great to hear the song played well where you are. Glad you enjoyed the story.

    God bless.

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  11. Victor,

    That was a beautiful story! We didn't celebrate Father's Day here this weekend. Ours is in September. I wonder how Father's Day began.

    God bless!

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  12. Thanx Sue for the kind encouragement.

    I don't know how Father and Mother's day started. Probably some commercial idea, no doubt.

    These days should help us remember fond memories.

    God bless you and yours.

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  13. This is a lovely story Victor!

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  14. I'm so pleased you liked it Monica. Thanx for taking the trouble to write in.

    God bless you.

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  15. You have a talent, Victor. God bless

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  16. Thank you Remedia. What a nice thing to say.

    God bless you.

    ReplyDelete

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