The unique song from her Dad was a sign from above that saved her from a potential disaster.
Posted in , Jan 25, 2021
I was ready for bed. As I reached to turn off the lamp on my bedside table, my eyes fell on the card my brother Isaac had given each of us siblings on what would have been Dad’s sixty-eighth birthday. It was a musical card with a photo of Dad smiling inside. When you opened it, a recording of Dad’s baritone singing one of his silly, signature songs would play. The card stood beside my bed, propped open just enough so the recording wouldn’t go off.
It had been a year and a half since Dad had died of a rare form of blood cancer, and I missed him every day.
A pastor for 15 years, my dad was a joyful man with a big heart. He always went above and beyond. When my house burned down a few years ago, we didn’t have insurance. Dad took it upon himself to make things right. He called everyone he knew to raise the funds we’d need to rebuild.
In the meantime, he moved me, my husband and our four kids into his home. We tried to help him with rent, but he flat out refused. “Don’t be ridiculous!” he had boomed with characteristic resonance.
That was one of the things I missed most about Dad: his voice. When I was growing up, he was always singing us little made-up ditties like the one featured in the card. If you were working with Dad around the house or just hanging out, he’d break into a song about what we were doing. It always made us giggle. Part of the fun for us kids was that, despite his wonderfully deep voice, Dad was typically off-key. Not that he ever let that stop him. He sang to share joy, not hit every note. I could always pick out his distinctive voice from the crowd when he sang along during church services.
With happy memories in my mind, I turned off the light and slipped under the covers, quickly drifting to sleep. I was awoken hours later by a loud sound. Booming. Familiarly off-key.
“Beautiful and marvelous—!”
The crescendo of Dad’s voice filled the room. The card! It stood on the bedside table as always, but its recording continued. I jumped out of bed, heart pounding, and snapped it shut, cutting off Dad mid-verse before the whole house woke up. The room was quiet again. Too quiet.
How did that card just start playing like that? I thought. Did a draft move it? Did I leave a window open?
I checked the windows in my bedroom. All tightly shut. Maybe one of the kids had left a window open? I checked on each of my children. All were fast asleep. There were no open windows, either. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Why couldn’t I shake the feeling that something was wrong?
I decided to check downstairs. I looked through the kitchen, the living room, the den. All quiet. We live on a farm and raise chickens. Currently we had a dozen baby chicks, just hatched. Too young to be outside, the chicks were in a plastic bin lined with sawdust in our basement laundry room, under the warmth of a heat lamp. I was up. I might as well check on them too. I crept downstairs. Everything was dark, quiet.
I opened the door to the laundry room and was hit with the acrid smell of smoke. The heat lamp had fallen, crashing into the rim of the bin! The plastic was starting to melt, bubbling and smoking. The chicks were cheeping in alarm, huddled in the far corner of the bin. I rushed into action, unplugging the lamp and putting it on the tiled floor.
The damage wasn’t too bad. The chicks would need a new enclosure, but they were safe. I let out a shaky breath, relieved. With the door closed, our smoke alarms wouldn’t have gone off until things had been much, much worse. Who knows what could have happened? Perhaps another house fire…
But we were safe. My house, which Dad had had such a hand in rebuilding, was as good as new after a thorough airing out. All thanks to his one-of-a-kind singing voice.
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