Hello Darlin’… by JoAnn

A radio is shown with the words dad 's transistor radio.

When I was a little girl in the 1960’s, I spent a lot of time following my daddy around as he did his daily chores and worked our family farm.  Mama would send me outside to play, but watching daddy was much more interesting to me.  I’m sure it may have been more that I pestered him at times and slowed down his work.  

One day, hoping to guide my attention in another direction, Daddy let me borrow his little transistor radio.  He carried the little black radio with the 9-volt battery in his front shirt pocket whenever he was outside working.  I knew it was important to him but did not understand why.  Until he let me borrow it for a day.  

Even at a young age, the music that came from this little invention took me away.  It fed my imagination and soothed and entertained me.  It was great!  From then on, I would beg my daddy to borrow his little transistor radio any time I was outside.  Till finally one day, he gave me one of my own.  Later on, in my teenage years, that little radio would be placed under my pillow at night, and I would fall asleep to the music of the 1970s.  When I hear one of those songs now, I am immediately transported back in time.

I never grew out of my love for a simple radio.  I think I have my daddy to thank for that.  Later on in his life Daddy graduated to a larger portable radio exactly like the one pictured.   That radio was always in my parents’ home.  Even my children remember this radio well.  It would be on the bathroom shelf for my dad to listen to the daily news as he shaved every morning.  It would be on the back porch for him to hear the mid-day news at lunchtime.  It would be on the porch in the evening for whatever ballgame he was interested in.  And it was always available to play music.  

One of Daddy’s favorite things to do when he was listening to music, was to call the radio station and request a particular song to be played and dedicated to my Mama.  Then he would carry the radio to wherever she might be and beg her to listen.  Mama wasn’t as interested in the radio as Daddy and often times she would just smile and go about whatever she was doing.  Sometimes she would be downright annoyed that he was bothering her again with that silly radio.  I remember her complaining to him to please stop putting their names on the radio!  People would think they were crazy.  But sometimes she would stop and humor him.  This would usually end in a little kiss.  Looking back now, I see it was a challenging game for my dad.  Could he break the ice and warm Mama’s heart up, or would she shoot him down again? 

My daddy’s favorite song to request for my mama was Conway Twitty’s “Hello Darlin’ “.  It was a favorite of his, and he would often sing it around the house.  My dad had a booming, strong voice and could sing beautifully.  I always felt it was such a shame he never sang in a church choir or a quartet.  He also would have made an excellent radio DJ.  

A lot of people never saw this side of my daddy!  They only saw the 6 ft., 250 lb. veteran who was known to have a blunt voice, and a hot temper.  I am thankful I got to see the sweet and loving side that was so precious.  No wonder my mama and daddy were married for over 50 years.