Marion Walter McCall ("Mac")was a quiet, yet strong presence in our home. Hardworking and so steady. We could set the clock by the time he arrived home from work each and every day. His word was the final say. Mother may have coached him in some of his decisions, but any attempt to change his mind would have been useless, probably because of his strong character and his sense of conviction when it came to the protection and rearing of his four children.
Dad quit school during the depression so he could work to help my grandfather support their family and other relatives who managed to find their way to my grandparents’ tiny home in Oklahoma City.
Dad was a self-taught musician. He learned a few chords from his dad and, in the early years of getting to know my mom, he sat on his front porch and played his guitar. Mom sat on her front porch --- next door --- and listened. Guess they were both a little shy. That subtle courtship led to almost 54 years of marriage, four children, nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Music was such a strong connection with Dad. It was so natural to see him sitting in the living room, guitar perched on his knee as he played and either whistled or hummed songs like “Blue Skies,” “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” or my favorite, ”Little Coquette.” He loved the more jazzy sounds of “Kansas City Blues” and many others that I never knew had a name.
We have precious few pictures of these moments in time. Photographing him playing the guitar would have been like taking a snapshot of someone brushing his teeth or eating dinner. He made the decision early on to choose family over seeking the world of entertainment, though he surely would have had great success with his talent. Sunday lunch was prepared to the strains of “Amazing Grace,” “Just a Closer Walk” and any other requests spoken by the busy kitchen brigade. Sometimes my sister and I managed to slip away from our assigned jobs and into the living room to sing with him.
The photo below is of the band Dad played with on a local radio show in Oklahoma City. He is standing, second from the left.
Along with music, Dad’s legacy was his faith and love for his family. He was a deacon, Sunday School teacher and, in his later years, a choir member. Mom remained his sweetheart until the day he died. He required very little for himself --- an occasional new guitar, his favorite TV westerns, a couple of Studebakers (and later Fords) and lots of bowling. Those strong shoulders were meant for that sport.
"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night
He will be like a tree planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
(Psalm 1:1-3, NASB)