09 September 2008

Laurens, IA

We buried Sarah's grandmother Virginia today. She had a long (almost 92 years) and happy life, with a devoted husband, two great sons, and an assortment of daughters-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren-in-law, and step and non-step-great-grandchildren. She also left behind a town that came out in force to say goodbye to her in a service this morning that was beautiful and surprising. There were a number of moving parts, but the most surprising section was when a family friend stood to read selections from letters she had written in decades past. The woman who wrote the letter was erudite, witty, pithy, quick, and very funny, a big change from the older woman in mid-dotage that I met a few years ago. It was a real treat for me to hear those words, and it made me wish that I had known her in her more spry times.

I've been toting a portable audio recorder around with me for about a year now. I usually use it to record nature sounds (storms, waterfalls, insects, etc.), but this weekend, I bought it to record family conversations. This weekend, when the family gathered for meals, etc., I'd set it up inconspicuously and record the conversation. Sarah's grandfather is full of old stories, and the family can really get going after a long day. I made about four hours of recordings over the past few days, and I'm going to edit and log them for future use. I know we'll enjoy listening to the conversations in the future, both to hear old stories, and also, years from now, when some of us are gone. Sarah's also getting interested in creating an archive of geneaologic information, and these audio recordings can become a part of that.

Now we're in Kansas City for the night. Tomorrow, we fly back to LA, where Sarah has a meeting in the afternoon. After that, we'll head home and get back to our lives, with fond memories of saying goodbye to a great lady.

No comments: