There has been a photo assignment looming over my head for almost 2 weeks, called Sights and Sounds, through National Geographic Your Shot. I knew what I wanted to do but it made me confront the difficult feelings of missing my father, who died of brain cancer 10 years ago. The most important thing for me was making sure I honored his memory. This is a story of my process, getting it done and it’s profound affect on me.
First, I’ll share a little history….
My Father was Wayne C. McKibbin and was the lead singer and guitarist in a group called Hope, which became my middle name when I was born in April of ’71. They were incredibly successful, recording a couple singles and consequently their #1hit, ‘Where Do You Want To Go’, with Coulee Records in LaCrosse WI. The group then went on to record an entire album with A&M Records, which was copyrighted in ’72.
My dad went on to become a Minister, which led us to California. Quite a change, I know but my dad continued to write music and there is a treasure chest full of beautiful memories of going home to Wisconsin and the group, always reuniting for amazing Jam Sessions.
It’s no surprise that I would naturally gravitate to guitar and singing and songwriting, although my dad was never one to coddle me. He showed me some basics and I ran with it. Of course the first batches of music always only had 3 or 4 chords in them. I was still proud and wrote some decent stuff over the years.
That, truly was the beginning of my passion for writing.
On July 4th in 2005, my father passed away from brain cancer, after struggling through surgeries and experimental treatments for nearly 5 years. It was with a very heavy heart that I inherited his Martin Acoustic Guitar. I had a difficult time playing it for a while. I could never make her sing the way my dad did but I did eventually start playing again.
Today, I occasionally take her out and play her but I’m ever mindful that she is older than me and if you follow my blog, you know that I’ll be turning 45 very soon.
The guitar has so much rich history and a deep sentimental value to me, hence the reason I was having some, initial, difficulty with the photo assignment. Ultimately, it provided an opportunity for me to reminisce and mull over many beautiful memories.
Today I took out my Martin and a bunch of memorabilia from my dads recording days. I took great care with the lighting and angles of the shots. As you can imagine, I took a large quantity of photographs and then took my time breaking them down into a handful of favorites. At that point I did some minor editing, wrote a short narrative about the
history of my father’s music and how it touched my life and something brief about what each image was. Ultimately, I was happy with the outcome and believe my dad would be too.
The candle in the photographs is a symbol of my father’s undying light. His music lives on and his Hope, became my middle name and later the first name of my first daughter.
Hope is so very precious and a light we must always carry within and share with others. My father lit that flame in me a lifetime ago, as this photo assignment did today. Thanks for letting me share. I hope you enjoyed the photographs, as well as, the story.
🎶The Crazy Celt 💚