My father recited The Man from Snowy River every Christmas at our family’s annual concert. The excitement of the classic Australian bush ballad spoken in his dry, gravelly voice will live with me forever.
My older sister was by far the best English teacher I ever had. I see her now in the classroom, one long dangly earring in and her jailbird outfit on (matching black and white, horizontal stripes – stockings, skirt and top!).
Sometimes, when the day is chaotic and the world confusing, I pause and hear her quote the Irish poet, Keats: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold / mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… surely some revelation is at hand”.
This revelation ripened slowly. First, I started obsessively listening to podcasts. One day I was listening to Hugh Mackay, this Australian researcher who comments on life’s mysteries and intricacies. His message was so clear and vibrant, his advice sound. Then it dawned on me. I can listen to Hugh Mackay – a person I don’t know – whenever I want. At that moment, I longed to hear some short and dry sage-like advice delivered by my father, or the laughing voice of my sister. I longed for those they loved most to hear it as well.
Second revelation? Mum. Mum’s somewhere in her early eighties (that’s non-specific enough for a public forum). She’s a really interesting person, and most people – probably even her children and most definitely her grandchildren – wouldn’t know the true extent of her achievements, her community work, or her astute, witty and often acerbic observations on the play of life.
The final revelation? An ill-defined something whispers in my soul about needing to do this. A pressing need to make sure time doesn’t run out when it comes to mum. Am I alone in feeling this need, I wondered?
So that’s it. I suspect I’m not alone. I suspect other people share this need. This need to capture the stories of the people they love – hear them in their own voice – while they can.
A Lasting Tale fixes that need. We silence that little whisper.
We are alive today, at www.alastingtale.com