Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuned in

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

I find myself this morning, as I have found myself on many mornings, pining for a time gone by; a time that preceded my entrance in this world by a strong sixty years.

Radio is something I hold with high esteem. When I was but a wee six year-old, my family did not have cable television...for any sort of visual entertainment, one would rely on the local broadcast stations or VHS tapes out on loan from the library. While I partook in many of the aged delicacies both sources provided (The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, etc.), radio stepped in to fill the vacancies left by my limited selection.

Never shall I forget that little portable radio I toted around with me, what one fine summer morning exposed to me a type of music that I loved then but swiftly forgot about, but was to return to focus in my late teens. Yes, at age six, when Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald came on, a sense of contentment, joy, but longing, overcame me. My, my.

Many a time I sat with the radio before me, listening to fantastic swinging numbers, whilst counting and organising my baseball card collection. As crazy as it may seem, I felt a real connection to those days gone by, especially since other areas of my life produced the same.

When we got our first video game system, the NES, on Christmas of 1989, the radio was neglected, never to rise to prominence in my life again, except in memory.

I was in my early teens when my paternal grandmother had somehow introduced me to those tape recordings of old radio shows one can purchase at The Cracker Barrel, for example. The adoration was swift in onset. There was something in the voices of radio announcers and personalities back then that one just cannot find anywhere else these days. The quality of production of many of those old shows, what with the fancy sound effects (all hand-made!), let you close your eyes and see it all in your mind's eye...your creativity filling in any blanks, or adding quirky details. I imagined what it must've been like to sit around the big radio set with family after dinner oh so many years ago, and take in such programmes.

As it was 21 years ago, I find that radio presently makes up the bulk of my entertainment needs. I listen to a station my university puts on which broadcasts a variety of music, from reggae to opera, but mostly jazz. Mostly, however, I listen to NPR. It's good to not be yelled and screamed at, bought and sold, and swayed in one direction or another by newscasters. Furthermore, I take great delight in shows like Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and especially A Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor and his crew presents to me weekly a slice of those days I've somehow, and quite inexplicably, have longed for most of my life.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

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