We were laying on the berber carpet in our formal living room on the farm. It wasn't a room we used a lot... mostly for the overflow on holidays or the card parties my parents had when we were younger. There was no television or entertainment in that room – it was for reading and talking and much needed quiet in an always bustling house.
But now we had a stereo system. I was in high school, and Mom and Dad had just gotten a real sound system. We had tiny Bose speakers in the corners of our rooms on the main level and could even pipe music out into our screened in porch. I was in heaven.
And so was Dad. It was shortly before Christmas, Mom had already gone to bed and Dad and I were laying on the floor letting Mannheim Steamroller engulf the room.
Dad loved Mannheim Steamroller.
"Just listen to that. Doesn't it sound like they're right in the room? Don't you wonder how they put this music together? How do you suppose they manage to fill your whole chest up with sound and meaning when they don't say a word?"
Dad, as I'm sure you can tell, never lost his sense of wonder. And I was right there with him. I hadn't heard anything so pure before either, and we talked for a long time that night... debating how they created their sound. Did they start with the idea of the full sound and piece smaller sounds together to make it a reality, or did they start with one, single sound and build around it until it became what we heard?
Either way, we loved the music and the stereo system with the tiny speakers that amazed us with a new sound in our home.
Just five days before Dad died, he and Mom were laying in bed with me discussing the look of my bedroom. I'm pretty much in bed all day every day now, and this didn't really look like a room one would want to spend all day in. We were used to long Sunday afternoons of lazily watching movies, but instead on that Sunday we lazily dreamed up ways to make the bedroom better.
Mom and I had already talked about maybe painting my room the same blue they have in their bedroom. It's soft and cozy, but lighter and happier than the color of my room now. We thought it would give it a boost. And Dad, being the husband of an interior decorator, had started having pretty good opinions of his own as we discussed maybe painting the trim white and other things that would provide a face lift.
One of their suggestions was to get rid of my bulky television and put a flat screen on the wall. Needless to say, it was a great suggestion... but me being me, I told them they shouldn't do that. What I had was fine and I didn't want them spending money if they didn't have to. Of course I would have loved it, but I didn't need it. They both told me to hush up and that a TV needed to be a part of the makeover.
And then, five days later, my bedroom seemed like the most insignificant thing in my world that had just turned upside down and backward.
God bless Mom, one of the first things we talked about after Dad was gone was that she was getting that television he talked about. She has done such a beautiful job, as she walks through every day, looking not only through her eyes but through Dad's as well. She is living her life, and at the same time making sure she honors his. I am so proud of her.
So, she enlisted the help of my brother in law, who knows more about televisions than Mother or I, and this was delivered the week before last:
Mark and Susie came over that Saturday to install it for me, and as every word came out of my mouth I realized how much of what I was saying, Dad would have been echoing.
I've never seen a 3-D movie before, but I kept saying this is what I imagined it to look like. If Dad was here he'd say, "It looks like a guy could just reach in and pick one of those players out of the screen! That's crazy!"
And the colors... holy wow. I'm finding that, as I watch a show, I'm paying more attention to the detail of the screen than I am the detail of the storyline. I watched HD channels before, but now I'm actually watching HD.
I'm like a kid in a candy store.
Riley tries to be enthusiastic with me as I cuddle up with him, watching the Netflix instant queue that now magically pops up on my television screen, and I am constantly thinking about how much Dad would love this. How much he would be in awe of what technology can do these days. I can't wait for Mom to come for a lazy Sunday afternoon of movies and see a piece of Dad's heart right up there on the wall.
And as I watch, I'll hear the wonder in his voice and see the smile on his face. And I'll realize that every new thing that comes into my life now that he's gone will be made special by the memories he provided when he was here.
We are all so lucky to be loved so well.