Voices of the Past

Of all the qualities which set human beings apart from the rest of humanity, there is our voice.  It was this means of communication which allowed us to move beyond other species and become social animals.

Our voice allowed our ancestors to pass on instructions on how to do critical things to survive.  We began to live less off of instinct and more off of experiences passed down from generation to generation.  Language came long, long before the ability to write and so most knowledge was passed down by oral tradition.  Since early man tended to live in familial situations, with tight family ties, language probably varied a lot, and then as families stretched out and became tribes the group adopted the most useable language form available to communicate within the entire group.

But, the anthropological aspect is not where I want to concentrate.  It’s the spiritual and mystical aspect of the voice to which I wish to “speak”

I’ve had so many wonderful and unique voices which have inhabited the echoes of my mind.  My Dad’s laugh…I can never get it far from my immediate memory.  He laughed a lot and at a lot of things.  He gave me a lot of advice with that voice.  I took some of it, and some I wish I had taken.  His voice was stilled in 2010.

My Grandfather Jervis’s voice.  My voice is a mixture of his voice and my Dad’s, leaning more heavily towards his.  He could sing from bass to tenor and I inherited a bit of that.  I used to sit around in his living room and listen to him sing his “scales”  “Do..do..do……do, ray, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do..do..do..”  I got up in front of the congregation where my Grandpa was song leader when I was four years old and waved my hands around like I was conducting the choir.  Nobody laughed or made fun of me.  I was really proud of myself and I remember it so well.  My Grandfather’s voice was stilled in 1991.

My Mom and my Grandmother had similar voices…and they were both worriers.  I asked my Grandmother on her 100th birthday what she would have done different if she could go back and go it all over again.  She simply said “I’d worry about things less, because all the worrying I did never changed nothing” Her voice was stilled in late 1999.  I still dream of her quite often, most of the time in the kitchen.  She’s always telling me:  “I wouldn’t worry about that, Honey” she’ll say.  I still worry…I guess I can’t help it, I get it from her and Mom.  My dear Momma….she would always say “I love you” and too many times, “I’m sorry” for things which really were not her fault, not anybody’s fault, just fate and fate alone.  Mom’s voice was also stilled in 2010.

In late 1999, I was really scared.  The specialist had found a lump on my vocal cords and he was pretty sure it was cancer.  I went into surgery wondering if I would come out with a voice…..would I come out with a hole in my throat and no voice.  Turned out it was a big lump of scar tissue.  I came out with my vocal cords, but it took a year a rehabilitation to even get back to regular talking, much less singing.  I have had to be very careful since then.  Some days are good, some days not so good.  At least I still have that mechanism of communication to use with my family, my friends… (Although sometimes I bet they wish I would shut up!)

My voice will be stilled one day, as have been the voices of all human beings who ever lived.  I hope I have used it correctly…will use it better, and maybe there will be some memorable phrase “hanging in the air” for someone to remember me by.