GUIZERIX: Comfort found in old-time music

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, October 13, 2021

As my father enters the twilight of his life and his battle with cancer is quickly coming to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the many ways he influenced my life.

Chief among the ways is his influence over my musical taste. Never one to listen to the most popular thing on the radio, and a product of a family worn down by hard living in Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains, Daddy tended to stay true to his roots when it came to music.

Growing up, we burned through three cassette tapes of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, singing “Ida Red,” “Faded Love” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” among others. Daddy’s booming bass voice blended in and I like to think it tickled him pink that my brother and I preferred classic country over The Wiggles.

When “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” was released, the soundtrack became an immediate family favorite. We played through the CD over and over again, while traveling to visit family or heading out of town for vacations. Little did I know, I’d one day live in one of the movie’s filming locations.

At 9 years old, I joined the choir at our little country church. Being a child, I had to stand on a box each Sunday to be seen over the ledge of the choir loft and a robe was specially hemmed to fit my small frame. Daddy soon followed, and we shared years of glorifying the Lord in song together.

When I moved six hours away for college at Ole Miss, I was often homesick. But there’s a certain comfort in the music one grows up with, and I could play a little Merle Haggard or Del McCoury and feel less alone.

We haven’t heard my father sing in months, due to the advanced state of his disease. And, as a family, my mother, brother and I are slowly accepting the reality that we won’t hear him sing again in person — at least, not in this lifetime.

But I know even after he’s gone, we can find comfort in the little things, like stumbling upon his favorite music on the radio.

And as one of our favorite Gospel songs says, “This world is not my home, I’m only passing through.”