Childhood, A Tape Recorder and My Father...
When I was a young boy and eager to show my Dad how grown-up I was, I kept badgering him to let me load his reel-to-reel tape recorder.
Then the day finally came when my father actually let me try it.
What happened couldn't have been more disastrous!
I didn't correctly route the tape from the feeder reel through the middle "reading" mechanism, didn't wind enough tape on the receiving reel and pressed "rewind" instead of "play".
The machine through a fit!
When the receiving reel was free of any tape, the reel flew off the machine and committed a WWII Japanese Zero style suicide attack against the wall behind the machine!
Needless to say, it ended up mangling my Dad's recording of a PhD dissertation.
I felt horrible; wanting to go run and hide.
Tears stung my eyes as I tried to say sorry to my Dad. But I couldn't because I was shaking and sniffling so much that my trembling mouth wouldn't work right.
Looking at the floor, the only thing I could manage was repeated cycles of the following:
"S...[cough]...ss...[sniffle]...sorr...[wipe tears from eyes]...Dad...[stutter inhale breaths]...Ddd...[very long exhale]..."
When I stopped trembling enough to catch my breath, my father lifted my face and wiped away the tears with a handkerchief.
[My Dad always carried a handkerchief. He used to say, "A true gentleman ALWAYS has a handkerchief handy. It has dozens of uses in daily life; least of which is coming to the aid of fair maidens."]
"Don't worry, son. That tape recording is from a bunch of long and boring PhD lectures."
Chuckling, he continued, "I've got enough of them to last at least two or three lifetimes! Anyway, I'm really proud of you for trying. Take a minute to get yourself together 'cause we need to try it again..."
And after he showed me how to correctly thread the tape through the machine one more time, I did it too!
Jumping up and down, I was beaming with pride and joy.
"I did it! See that, Dad! I really did it!" I shouted.
With a heartwarming smile on his face, my Dad said, "That's great, son. I knew you could do it. Now let's take a break. Go get your coat."
Puzzled, I asked,"Where are we going, Dad?"
"First, we need a much deserved ice cream break at Baskin-Robbins.
Then, because you didn't give up, I think we should go to Radio Shack so you can choose a new tape recorder just for you."
My father passed away many years ago. But he is still very much alive in my memories, interpersonal interactions and default behavior.
May you and yours be well and love life today.
In Lak'ech, JaiChai
(JaiChai 23 OCT 2021. Simultaneous multi-site submissions posted. All rights reserved.)