Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Radio Audience (biographical play)

by Abigail Fithian Halsey | c1934
“Up early this morning, Aunt Marcia,” the young girl spoke.

Aunt Marcia, her shoulder shawl pinned tightly this cold morning turned from the radio. Her face was all alight.

“What is it, Auntie?” said the girl surprised. “You look as tho you’d seen a vision.”
“Seen and heard,” the older woman said, then stopped awhile. “My brother, on the radio, I’ve heard his voice at last.”

“Oh, really, Auntie, when?”

“Just now,” Aunt Marcia paused, the wonder still too great. “He’s out in Colorado, I am here. We’ve never heard him way off here before, never could get him someway, tho I know he speaks. No need to drive the lazy foot this morning, my mind, too, that was wide awake. John set the dial for me when he went to bed, at seven-thirty, I was listening in, and when the time came—why it seemed that I would never get his voice. Jazz there was, and some one singing ould, and then above the rest was ONE-TWO-THREE and ONE-TWO-THREE, that morning exercise, MY BROTHER, his own voice. His well-loved voice, I’d know it ‘cross the sea.”

“How proud his father’d be, his dad who never wanted him to preach, but keep a store or run a farm like all the rest. But no, Dave had ambition—and love, too, love for all.”

“And Mother, then I thought of her—his little mother who had tired too soon and had to leave his childhood to us girls, who didn’t know so well as she the way to care for little boys.”

“But sister Lyd, she was eighteen, she took the baby in her care and brought him up as well as sisters can. If she were here how proud she’d be, how proud she was all through the years when he was growin’ up. And when he preached in the old church first time, his mother couldn’t have been much prouder than dear sister Lyd.”

“And his Aunt Gene, oh dear, how I go on—they’re all gone, all gone, and I alone am left.”

“And then I thought—it came just like a flash—there’s none of them, not one, that NEEDS to hear like this, with mortal ears like me. They always hear, by ways divine, O GOD, the wonder—and the joy.”

“I heard his prayer. I heard him say, ‘Shine on our sorrow, Father, in the light of thy faith, Shine on our broken hopes in the light of thy joy.’ O Brother, Little Brother, we are listening, all, yes, all of us, or here or there—what the matter? Gift divine that man has found, has found at last the way devised by God so long ago.”

“The jazz cut in. I couldn’t hear him now, I thought I’d lost him and I almost snapped the dial off, but no, ‘twas here, the well-loved voice, right in the room, beside me, and I heard, above the jazz, above the strident sounds. Above the interminable ONE-TWO-, ONE-TWO-THREE, I heard his voice, these words, just these, ‘And someway God comes through.’”

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