Thursday, January 19, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
It was quite cold that Monday morning, the first snowfall of the season covered every surface with a layer of fluffy white. Running late as usual, Tricia grabbed her coat and scarf and bundled up for the trek to the snow-covered car. There would be some extensive window scraping, that she really didn’t have time for, but was an unfortunate necessity.
Twenty minutes and two freezing hands later, Tricia climbed into the drivers seat of her car and cranked the engine. Lucky for her, the station had called early that morning to ensure that the employees knew to take their time and be safe on the way to work. That was one thing she loved about her job—they really cared for their employees. That, and the fact that she was pretty much addicted to music. Music had been a part of her daily life for as long as she could remember… all the way back to those “dance recitals” and “concerts” she would give on her grandmother’s worn kitchen floor. In elementary school, her ever-traveling business-owning mother had insisted that she be registered for piano lessons with the most prominent instructor in all of Ohio. Because the lessons were her mother’s order, Tricia dreaded them. Each week, it was a fight for her grandmother to get her into the car and over to the instructor’s home, which happened to be an hour from her home. Now, as she looked back, she realized how much those piano lessons had taught her and helped her through life, not only as a musician, but also as a person. And those car rides with her grandmother were some of her favorite memories. In high school, Tricia had played in both the band and the orchestra, excelling far beyond the ability of her classmates. At the suggestion of her teacher, she began tutoring other students who were struggling with their musical abilities. It was in one of these tutoring sessions that she met Elijah Murphy, a struggling musician and the local radio station owner’s son. It was through Elijah that she had landed her internship at the station her junior year of high school. Once she began, she fell in love with the radio, and never left. Now, she was one of the most well known radio personalities in all of Cincinnati.
As she pulled into her parking spot and cut the engine, she reminisced on those first few years at the station. She and Elijah had become inseparable, quite like a brother and sister, and together they tackled any and every task that was thrown their way. From setting up for a show with a live band, to running sound boards, to making coffee and doughnut runs, they had it all covered. Elijah had left the business and headed off to college somewhere in North Carolina, but they had kept in touch and spoke often. A few weeks before his graduation, he had announced that he was engaged to a lovely young lady named Jenna. They were married not long after, and they bought a house somewhere near the mountains.
Tricia grabbed her purse and her notebook with the lineup for the day, and quickly headed inside to get out of the snow, which had started to drift lazily from the sky once more.
“Good Morning, Tricia! We were beginning to wonder if you were going to make it!” Ben, her morning show co-host beamed at her. He was the lead singer of a local band, and music was a piece of his soul, which made him perfect for his job. Not to mention that he was one of the nicest guys that Tricia had ever met. Ben just had this joy about him all of the time that was infectious. He had a way of easing tension in any room, and bringing a lighter side to any situation. Together, they made a really good team for the morning show, and the station’s ratings had gone up considerably since the addition of their time slot.
Tricia walked through the large commons area where Ben was sitting and on into her office. She placed her purse on the table, turned her computer on, and sat down at her desk. Just then, Ben came in with a steaming cup of coffee.
“Just the way you like it! Don’t forget, we’re need to be in the studio ten minutes early today for a short staff meeting since Mr. Murphy is still in North Carolina visiting his son!”
“I’ll be there, no worries!” And with that, she turned her attention back to her computer screen, scanning the headlines in the local news. Apparently, the most interesting thing that had taken place was a dog being rescued from a tree somewhere on the outskirts of town. Awesome. Then she turned her attention to the stack of mail that Ben had faithfully delivered to her that morning. As she sifted through the usual stack of bills and junk mail, a small envelope caught her eye. As she pulled it out, she was surprised to see her name on the front.
Tricia L. Bateman
Cincinnati, OH 42526
She looked over the envelope, but could find no return address, which seemed a bit odd. Tricia rummaged through her desk and found her letter opener, and quickly tore into the note. As she began to read, her heart skipped a few beats.
I hope this note finds you well, and I hope the station is still running as smoothly as ever. Things are going well here in NC, although I do miss all of you quite terribly. Jenna is doing well, and we are actually expecting our first child together! We are very excited. I know it seems strange, I never really pictured myself as a father either, but I think that this is really going to work out. How are things going for you? How is your mother, and that scraggly little mutt you call a dog… Lacey, right?... how is she doing? I hope all is well, and that you are truly happy.
So, I have some news for you. As you know, my Dad has been visiting with us for the past two weeks. During this time, it has become apparent to us all that Dad just isn’t doing very well anymore. His health has continually failed him over the past few years, and as it continues to worsen, we agreed that the best option would be for him to move to North Carolina with us. And this leads me to the main reason that I am writing to you. Dad originally wanted to leave the station to me, and allow me to do with it as I please. Instead, we decided together that the best option would be to give the station to you. No one knows and understands the love that we have for the station better than you do, Tricia, and Dad would be able to rest easier knowing that the station was in the best possible care. Do you remember that one day in high school when we were both working at the station and we were setting up for Ben’s band to come perform live? We talked about our dreams that day, dreams to run our own radio stations and to be come big-time radio stars. Well, Trish, this is your chance to do that. I really hope you consider our offer, and I hope you continue to pursue what brings you true joy in this life. You know I’m always here for you, as I always have been, and I hope to come and visit soon when we come to pick up Dad’s things. We should be coming in two or three weeks, so I’ll give you until then to decide for sure. We love you, Tricia!
Tricia just sat, wide-eyed and unbelieving, as her heart strained to return to normal pace. Her own station. True, it had always been a dream of hers to run a radio station of her own—to schedule the shows and performers, to oversee the several different segments, to review the public response to the lineup. But most importantly, the station would be a way to promote the passion for music that had been instilled in her when she was so young by her wonderful grandmother, who would turn eighty-two in three weeks. Tricia’s grandmother had practically raised her, and had always been so supportive of Tricia in everything she attempted to do in life. The station had always been a dream that her grandmother supported fully. When they discussed what the station would do, and what kind of programming it would hold, Tricia’s grandmother had always said “Just make a difference, dear. Figure out what your fingerprint looks like, and then leave it on the world. Let people know and remember that you were here.” Be it a hundred small prints, or one large one, the station was definitely the way to begin to leave her mark on this world. And it would be the perfect birthday present for the person that meant the most to her in the world.
A few days later, after having called and discussed everything with Elijah, Tricia called a staff meeting to make the big announcement. When everyone was finally in the room, she realized for the first time that she was nervous about this change. It was like a sudden knot blocked her airway, and she wasn’t sure if she could speak at all. Bravely, she cleared her throat and began her speech, pressing her hands firmly together to keep them from shaking so much.
“Hello, everyone! I hope that you’ve had a great week so far. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Mr. Murphy still has not returned from his extended visit to his son’s home in North Carolina. I have been informed by his son, Elijah, that due to his failing health, Mr. Murphy will be taking up residence with them.” A quick glance around the room showed the several employees with stunned, concerned faces, waiting on her to tell them their future. This next part was the kicker. What would they think of the switch? Well, there was only one way to find out. “As I’m sure many of you realize, this leaves us without a current owner. Both Mr. Murphy and Elijah have both asked me if I would be willing to take over the station, and I have agreed to do just that. In doing so, I want you to know that each of you will still have a job for me. Our station has received some of the best ratings of all local stations recently, and I see no need to fix something if it isn’t broken.” A second glance around the room revealed something that she hadn’t expected: a look of relief, coupled with several smiling faces. They were excited. “I hope that you will all work with me as we all attempt to make this transition as smooth as possible, and I look forward to where our future will take us. Thank you all for coming and for listening to me.” Suddenly the silence broke as people began to return to their morning duties. Everyone congratulated Tricia as they began to leave the room, and many told her that they couldn’t have picked anyone better for the job. It was then that she knew that she had made the right decision.
Two weeks later, on January 12, Tricia spent the day at her grandmother’s house celebrating her birthday. That evening, they sat down together at her grandmother’s kitchen table to eat the meal that they had prepared together that day. Her grandmother’s hand reached across the table and wrapped around Tricia’s own, and they bowed their heads.
“Dear Lord, Thank you for this wonderful day, and the blessing of another year. Thank you for this food, and please use it to make us stronger for you. Thank you for taking the time to leave your mark on us, and please allow us to shine for you. Amen.”
The prayer was so methodical, so familiar, that it wrapped around Tricia like an old blanket. It almost made what she had to say next even sweeter.
Sitting there, in that warm kitchen with the worn tile floors, it was almost as though she had come full circle. From performing and dancing for her grandmother on the old, worn “kitchen stage”, to owning her own radio station that would reach hundreds of people in their very own “kitchen stages”, all of the memories were connected, like the staff lines on a piece of sheet music, the music always going on.
“Grandmama,” she started, the smile already spreading across her face, “I think I’ve finally figured out what my fingerprint looks like.”