May 31, 2002


I'm sitting here tonight letting my mind wander, thinking about digital generations, resurrecting the dead through digital technology. Stuff like that. Because tonight I put on a CD my cousin had burned last year, a CD featuring my grandfather on mandolin, my dad on bass and piano, and my great uncle on guitar, playing, like they did every Sunday of every week of every year, while we children danced and played and sang off-key.

I know the CD. I mean, I've listened to it before. But before tonight, I had never listened to it with my own daughter. Here she is in front of me, almost five years old, the age I was day this family session was taped. I'm looking into her eyes, and I see them all. Every one of them gone, gone long before I had a chance to ask questions, to find out everything I needed to know. And I'm explaining to her that this is her grandfather, and her great grandfather--mommy's dad and grandpa. And she's looking at me, again in her eyes I see each of them. There is my dad, her chin is his chin. And there is my grandfather--her stubborn brow.

And I'm realizing that these oak speakers, yep, these right here on the floor, are resurrecting, if only briefly, her great grandfather and her grandfather. Here we are, four generations, gathered in my living room joined by music recorded in 1967. And I hear myself laughing on the CD, and I sound just like her. It's like an echo of an echo of something so familiar. I sound so happy. I was so happy.

It's all the history I can give her--the music. It's all I have. I was too young when he died to give her anything other than sounds, because those are what I remember. So we share them. And she shares them. And we're happy.