|I don’t know why it always happened on a Sunday morning unless it had to do with the morning warmth of the kitchen, the smell of bacon and eggs… but I remember it exactly, the sizzle of the bacon, the cracking of the eggs, the snugness of it all and mum, in her apron, singing along to her favorite song on the radio. I might have been ten, but no more than twelve years of age. 'Red sails in the sunset, way out on the sea...' I was hooked. Not to the song, though it remains one of my own favorites, but to the sound of my mother’s voice and the contentment on her face as she sang along in the kitchen.
Sometimes we think of things that we cannot remember clearly or understand why we are even thinking about them. Not me, I knew in that very instant I would write songs. These many long years later the dream of writing songs has evaporated. Oh, I still play with words, still enchant, still tell tales, but songwriting, alas, was just a dream.
Typing now, flight of fingers over the keys, I finally understand what my father understood. His real happiness happened right there, on his typewriter. His love for his wife revealed through the punched black ribbon of a Smith Corona typewriter. Occasionally, more frequently later in life, Dad would read some of his stories. His gnarled stubby fisherman’s fingers gripping the pages as he read. I would sit with my mother, listening intently to his tales of the sea, looking at the paper punctures on the back of each page, wondering what fabulous creatures would come alive.
All I have become is in his words, written in his diaries, those completed stories, the many scraps of writing never finished, and his love of life. That’s who I have become. My life continually affected by the spirit of his writing; its effect borne out by the way I live my life.
Whenever my father wasn’t fishing he’d be sitting in his vegetable patch, with a pencil scribbling notes, and that evening I’d hear the clickety-clack of a single finger punching down on a typewriter key, one after the other, like dominoes going down in slow motion. His inspiration; and you must believe me as if my palm was upon an open page of the Bible, was my mother. Their love was a cleansing cloud, a place to play, shining stones, shrubbery that smelled so good and held me safe. So my dreams may have faded but still I hear my mother…
Red sails in the sunset, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one home safely to me
She sailed at the dawning, all day I've been blue
Red sails in the sunset, I'm trusting in you