Just a thought… Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. [Shannon L. Alder]
My goodness, we’re already three quarters of the way through July. Summer, as it always does, is flying by at a pace most incongruent with the slow speed at which life should go during this most delicious of seasons. But we’re looking forward to August, not only for our upcoming road trip (yes, another one – this is what we hoped reWirement would be all about) but we’ve got our fingers crossed that Dad will hop on a plane out of Kelowna and pay us a visit.
When we spoke of it earlier this month, Dad jokingly asked if we had two naps a day built into our schedule. I told him they can do whatever they like – and we’ll always make time for naps! This will be a great time for us, having him at our place. We’ve plans to show him around and treat him royally and I know Dad will look forward to visiting with his “kid” brother, 66-year-old Vern and his wife, as well as their youngest daughter Karen and their family. We can’t wait and hope it comes to pass.
Dad, as I think I’ve told you, loves to read to his lady friend Dawna every night. The widow of a missionary, Dawna has always had a great interest in studying The Bible and Dad loves the opportunity to pore over and discuss religious teachings. Born a Baptist, he converted to Catholicism when he and Mom got married in 1956, a decision that prompted some of his smaller-minded relatives to sit out their wedding. Too bad; from the pictures, it sure looks like they missed a great time!
Now he enjoys looking at different perspectives and recently picked up from a Mennonite thrift store several volumes of books that explore The Bible from different viewpoints. I made my dad laugh out loud the other day as we discussed his new acquisitions. I said, “Boy, you’re really cramming for the finals!” and he laughed a great musical laugh, saying he hadn’t really thought of it that way!
I love that we laugh together. Our phone conversations are a discussion of the latest news (world, national and what’s going on in his life), his weather and ours, and what the Jays are up to. When we’re done, I usually say, “Well, we’ve covered news, weather and sports…” and we laugh and know it’s time to wrap up.
One of Dad’s great joys now is that his tween-aged granddaughter, who lives in Kelowna, and whom he’s been ferrying to music lessons so she can learn to play his (now her) clarinet, has shown great interest in and ability with the instrument. Ava’s been playing lead clarinet in a marching band and may pursue the interest further in the cadets. Another generation of military Davises, she could well follow in the footsteps of her aunt, my sister Heather, who went on to become the first female conductor in the Canadian Armed Forces music program. So, let’s hope!
Dad always encouraged Lauren to keep up with her cello, although her interests moved more towards singing and performing musical theatre in her high school years. That didn’t stop him from asking in almost every phone call whether she’d taken it up again – sometimes to her frustration – but I reminded him that when I was well into my radio career he would occasionally ask when I was going to study some university courses.
That’s Dad: always wanting us to push harder and go higher. But maybe, and thankfully, it was when I was fortunate enough to receive an honourary degree from my alma mater that he finally realized I wouldn’t be darkening the hallways of higher learning, at least not as a student!
There was a time when I was frustrated with my Toronto radio career (back in the CKO all-news years in the mid-80s) that I almost left to teach at Loyalist College in Belleville. I’d always imagined myself as a teacher when I was sitting in classes in high school; radio hadn’t even occured to me as a career a woman could realistically pursue. Surely I wasn’t as intelligent or well-versed as the women I listened to at night in the dark on the CBC’s As It Happens; I couldn’t imagine the steel it took to ask all of those powerful men the tough questions.
Am I glad I didn’t leave to teach? Oh, yes. I don’t know what it would have meant for Rob’s career; I hoped he’d be invited to come and share his knowledge as well, but that request was never extended to him. So, I stayed. And that remained a path not taken.
Now, even if I was asked to teach somewhere I don’t think I’d be able to fit a structured job – even part-time – into this more carefree life that we’ve fashioned for ourselves. But I never mind listening to and helping young broadcasters on their way up.
Kind of seems a shame to waste a lifetime of experience when my best student is no longer around to ask for advice or to share stories of the radio business as it is now evolving. I often felt I learned as much from Lauren as she did from me. I’m grateful to have set up a scholarship for young female broadcasters at Loyalist, though. For even as my dad continues to demonstrate with his granddaughter Ava, life is about leaving little legacies of the good kind.