My Daddy’s Voice
I believe in the power of voices.
“Swing low, sweet chariot coming for to carry me home.” The gentle rhythm of that song coming from my daddy’s mouth and the honeyed phrases of slow southern voices bless my earliest memories. Voices that called you sugar and bodies that enveloped you in warm Toujours Moi scented hugs still fill my mind. I felt safe wrapped in the melodies of my daddy’s tunes and the sweet scents of my women kin.
My daddy’s voice was the lullaby and fortress of my childhood. I see us now—my sister and I in our pj’s huddled together on our double bed with Dad sitting in the middle. He was a Clark Gable dad with thick black hair and dark brown eyes. They lit up like lanterns whenever he got going on a story. But it was the voice that kept me with him. His mellow tones turned me into Snow White or Rose Red. When the voice deepened or vibrated, I could be Br’er Rabbit hiding in the briar patch. With the swell of his voice, I was Icarus flying too close to the sun. I tingled with its warmth.
My sister’s voice and mine chimed together at the end of every story. “Why do people have to be mean? I hope I find a prince like that some day. I would be brave, Daddy. I wish I could fly.’’
The rhythms and depth of my dad’s voice underscored the moral of every story. There was a right and a wrong. But, I never heard the story in black and white. Gold, vivid blues, red-hot reds, popsicle purple, and sometimes smoky gray colored every word.
His voice carried me home.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.