The Legacy of Voice

I remember how he looked, but I hadn’t given much thought to how he sounded.

Hearing an old song set off the memory of my dad’s voice singing, “I don’t want to walk without you.”

I thought about others to see if I could recall how they sounded.

Mother was rarely at a loss for words. Her voice is the one I hear most often; sometimes angry, sometimes laughing, but never forgotten.  (I’ve since  discovered, that Mothers occupy a cool spot in Hell while Fathers automatically receive ” a get out of jail free” pass.)

The voice I hear  from her is, “I guess they did the best they knew how to do.” At the time, I wanted sympathy for some  slight I suffered. Funny thing is, this rationale never seemed to present itself at the scene of some of my petty crimes.

Perhaps I still require a reminder.

In her quiet southern voice, my grandmother told me, “You’ll never do that again will you dahlin”, when hearing about my misbehavior of the day/week, depending on my level of activity. Those few words shamed me into good behavior– for a while. She was the majority of one, who believed I was perfect.

I was eight and our neighbor Maggie was my dearest friend in the entire world.  Her mother had been a slave and Maggie a domestic until she was too old to work. Her deep-throated laughter as I read aloud letters to her from her daughter made me giggle.

What a gift to be the beneficiary of these voices from my past.

At the same time, I am trying to be mindful of the legacy of my voice.

Whatever it is, I hope someone remembers the caveat, “I guess she did the best she knew how to do.”


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