Dad tells me his stories. Some of them I’ve heard many times. I’m trying to record them as accurately as I can understand. Sometimes he’s satisfied with what I’ve written. But there are times that he protests indignantly, “It wasn’t like that at all!”
So we talk more and I rewrite it, again. Always there’s the question in my mind as he talks. What part of these hours of conversation and story should be written? How much context is needed? What am I missing?
I feel privileged on the one hand that I get to do this. It’s very interesting to me and I’m listening for the themes in dad’s life in every story. The strongest thread woven into every story that he tells me is the people: buddies from youth, his family, church people, neighbors, the name of every single person who sold him something or from whom he bought things. The local business owners. Every person Dad encountered mattered. Every person was important somehow. And had value.
On the other hand, I realize that there will be mistakes on details. And there will be the slant I can’t help but have. This is a burden. I hope to not misrepresent Dad in any way. I want to tell his stories true.