Fading Taps

Blind luck produced one of the most memorable North Country Notebooks ever.

Elsie and I were on a driving trip to the South and paused at Civil War battlefield. We picked up the recorded tour guide. As usual, I toted my recording gear. The day was lovely; visitors were few. We moved from point to point, listening to the guide and reading posted descriptions. We paused where the decisive battle had occurred and I set up to do a North Country Notebook, cuing the tour guide to a music section. What followed was pure magic.

The music was a copy of an ancient recording, scratchy and wavering. A male quartet doing a wartime tearjerker. That set the mood as I described the scene, noting the many casualties among young soldiers far from home. A flag flew nearby. As I neared the end of my time, the quartet hushed and a bugler played Taps, His last note faded just as time ran out. I said, And that’s the North Country Notebook. Look for you tomorrow, same time, same station.

I was spooked. You could work hours and not come close to that tone and timing. Made it seem like I knew what I was doing.

Old Grandpa Lloyd