May 12, 2005

The Sound In My Life

Jeni and I are sitting with dad, who is sleeping soundly, the sun just having set over the bay, red gradient over the sky. Dani is upstairs going to bed, after pulling the night shift last night. Mom is catching up on email and correspondence in her office. It's been a long day for all of us in many ways, but we know we're in the right place doing this thing the right way.

Some of you may wonder what music we're playing. When dealing with Donel McClellan, this is no trivial issue. This is the man who once lived in a converted garage and decorated the large hinged door to the outside with empty record covers.

Dad loves Brad Mehldau, the previously mentioned Madeleine Peyroux, a brisk and stirring rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations by Murray Perahia, we've played Brahm's exquisite Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mussorgsky's lilting Pictures at an Exhibition, whose inspirational trumpets should be clinically tested next to Prozac for the way they make me feel. Afternoons, when we catch it, are dedicated to the broadly programmed DiscDrive, with the dry and exceptional Jurgen Gothe, who makes me pine for CBC reception in Seattle.

To quote the British artist Tom Phillips, whom Dad discovered and passed on to me, "The sound in my life enlarges my prison." Indeed.

Since poetry has been the balm of choice here, I'll leave you with a haiku I wrote about Dad, relating to a sound of his that will be familiar to many of you:

His laugh is engine
turning twice again, catching
as the joke broke through

Posted by Martin at May 12, 2005 10:43 PM

Martin, do you want to see your Dad's eyebrows lift a wee bit? Put on Ray Charles' "Let's Mess Around" and see if he responds. This song and "I've Got a Woman" are favorites of our four year old grands - Seymour, aka Ximei, and Zoe. It makes them rock!

Maybe later they will start to appreciate finer music. After all Rick's genes are in there somewhere. I have been singing Clingon Opera to them since they were little mites.

Whatever kind of music we cloak ourselves in, it is a great way to time travel. So glad you're taking turns being a presence to your Papa. He is so fortunate, as he's always said.

Wan An.


Posted by: Jennifer at May 12, 2005 10:59 PM

I find myself lately noticing the recorded times that people are posting and the times of day and night that are referred to in those posts. I, too, have been keeping long and odd hours as of late. It seems as if every hour is duly represented these last days. There is a whole loving guard of 'round the clock duty and vigil being kept.

It really struck me today especially. My mind has been full of you all - McClellans especially, and other readers both familiar and unknown - at nearly every minute. As I went about my teaching and driving and listening and meetings and parenting today, I was so filled with such a feeling of love going out and bouying up -- from me out and to me in -- I kept tearing up in gratitude and a sense of overwhelming comfort when l found myself alone at odd moments.

Being a part of this community, this family, is such a blessing that I wouldn't trade for the world. And as I pray for others, I am receiving so much in return. To be finding such joy and exquisite Love in such a time -- it leaves me filled with such a speechless sense of tenderness and gratitude.

I cannot stop from singing.

Peace to all,

Posted by: Meril at May 12, 2005 11:24 PM

Brilliant Martin,

True and sparse and rich!

You are dear and wry,
and not so far removed
from another guy,
the famous flared nostril punster.

And when listing your dad's musical taste,
you might remind your readers that he also played a mean gut bucket in an elite ocassional jug band.
Not that "Pictures at an Exhibition" was on the play list, but a highly entertaining repertoire kept the audience clamoring and stomping.
The tractors at the Lynden Fair played in the same key, I think. Eclectic Ecclesiastical taste!

Posted by: jennifer johnson fralick at May 13, 2005 12:08 AM

Martin and family - It was a difficult transition 10 years ago when we moved to Bellingham from Colorado I would often find myself in tears at church - a friend suggested it was where I could show my vulnerability - I thought perhaps it was the creaky pews. The other thing that stood out though was the male minister's laugh. I am once again in Colorado for a short time and how wonderful to revisit through your poem Donel's sheer enjoyment of the worship service. I've always thought he enjoyed the children's moment more than anyone else!


Posted by: sharon at May 13, 2005 05:07 AM

Like Meril, I too am feeling overwhelmed--no, overcome--by the wonder and grace and love of this time, of Donel's dance, of the McClellans' journey, of my own. There is joy in it all, mixed with such sorrow, and loneliness too. When people notice that I appear upset, and I explain, they say, "Oh, I'm so sorry." I have heard myself saying that sorry is right, yes, but there's so much more, that I'm feeling the presence of God strongly, as well as the presence of God's people, as well, somehow, as my own presence? Full of grace. There's a song for you: Sarah McLachlin's. Martin, thank you for the haiku and the Donel-laugh that I'll take with me through today, and thank you for writing. We're with you.


Posted by: Sherri Winans at May 13, 2005 07:22 AM

Martin - That one's going on my wall!

Love to all -


Posted by: Karen Kennell at May 13, 2005 07:35 AM

Oh yes, yes .....that wonderful deep sustained me through so many Joy Jester presentations in church when no one else seemed to see/get the humor (well, maybe they actually couldn't SEE the clowns in the old sanctuary and he just had a better view). That laugh so rich and deep....a simple, clean tickle .... permission to 'do that' in church - outloud... to commune with God with your belly!

Thank you Martin for your wit, your beautiful and articulate words, the honesty, the update on each of you, AND the soul touching haiku .... my love to you all.


Posted by: Margie Kimberley at May 13, 2005 07:49 AM

After The Long Gathering

After the long gathering
You will enter a silence
Of stones,
Of leaves,
Of (bright) wings.

You will hear
That when anything ends
A singing begins.

This singing has been
Part of You
Since the beginning of time.
It comes to break the tide,
To pierce the dark
And make you green again.

After the long gathering
You will enter a silence
Of stones,
Of leaves
Of wings.

-Corrine de Winter

Posted by: Janet at May 13, 2005 10:50 AM

And do not forget the glint in his eyes as he would watch for the shock wave of one of his punniest comments ro achieve that delayed recognition among those to whom he was speaking! He loved to set us up!

Posted by: Bruce at May 13, 2005 11:08 AM

Erin's class at Harmony Elementary School is studying the life cycle of butterflies. How grateful I am for this small miracle of timing. Every day for a week or two now she has been reporting to me with great excitement her observations of the transformative process ...from watching actual caterpillar to chrysalis...and now bright wings for some. (The first butterflies began to emerge about the same time that Donel's dance accelerated last week.) It is a grace of God that we have this gift to study while we go through our own time of chrysalis.

Posted by: Janet at May 13, 2005 11:09 AM

Speaking of Don's puns reminds me of a joke he and my dad told over and over and over one year down at Balboa...What's a Hickory Dickory Dock?

Someone you take your sick hickory dickory to. I still occasionally tell that joke and think of my two dads.
Kathe :)

Posted by: Kathe at May 13, 2005 12:34 PM

A little something to share with Don if it becomes appropriate...

I attend a Eucharist and healing service at Trinity Episcopal (Santa Barbara) every Friday morning. Today the homily was on Julian of Norwich. It was good to be reminded of a core tenet of her faith (and as Ralph Milton of Rumors E-zine is wont to remind us)..."But all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

A substitute priest celebrated this morning, and at the healing time, he asked each individual to name their prayer concern. So Donel was prayed for along with me when I was annointed.

Peace to you all,

Posted by: Leslie Wilson at May 13, 2005 01:48 PM
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