Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Soundtrack of My Life by Joshua Curran

The soundtrack of my life would include three songs: “Thomas the Tank Engine Theme” by Junior Campbell, “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble“ by Hillsong, and “Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja” by Lostprophets.
Do you remember when you turned three? I do. The party was Thomas themed, and I loved it. Thomas the Tank Engine was a big part of my childhood and shaped me as a person. At that same birthday party my grandpa helped me paint a little wooden train in Thomas colors. My grandpa – Pap-Pap –was a family man, a scientist, and an overall amazing person. He would beat me in video games and take me on bike rides.
 Thomas the Tank Engine The question could be posed of how a child could be shaped by a song about a train with a face. I loved being a part of the adventures that Thomas and his friends experienced. Having already loved music at this young age, whenever I hear the beginning notes of the theme music, I feel happy and like a kid again. Thomas affected my childhood and who I am as a person by giving me morals and making me want to be like the "really useful engines" on the island of Sodor.  Years ago I thought that the main character was named after me, or maybe I was named after the little blue train, seeing as my middle name is Thomas. But the real Thomas I was named after was so much more real, and influential than a simple train. It didn't hurt that he liked model trains, too.
Joshua with his Pap-Pap, Niagra Falls 2013
            My grandpa, Thomas Waters, was possibly the most inspiring person in my life. In October of 2014 the world suddenly lost one of its greatest men in the form of my Pap-Pap. He was a scientist, now with a scholarship specifically named for him for students pursuing research in ergonomics. When he worked for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, he took part in creating a lifting equation that made him an international rock star of science. With these kinds of accomplishments, you might assume his life was mostly work and no play. But I was the one who made him a grandpa (because I am the oldest grandchild) and I can tell you that he was the total opposite.
Pap-Pap was better at Call of Duty than me and my brother combined. He taught me swimming techniques and how to fly a dual line stunt kite. Whenever we would go to Florida, he and I would cruise around in his boat and I once caught a bass for dinner.
Did You Feel theMountains Tremble  In the song “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble” there is a lyric saying “Fling wide you heavenly gates!” I am reminded of Pap-Pap in thinking that he would enter Heaven bursting in through the doors wanting to meet everybody and shake hands. Although I know he's in Heaven, I still miss my video game buddy, who would hum along with the rhythmic beats of a game's playlist.

Shinobi vs. DragonNinja The soundtrack of ATV Offroad Fury 2 was fun and added to the feeling of landing a backflip over a train or something else crazy. The guitar-infused rock tune “Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja” by Lostprophets seemed to power the wheels churning in mud and off ramps of the racing ATVs on the screen. Drums were the background to the competition against Pap-Pap and added life to the game realm. Playing alongside a man who was always smiling and was clever, too, the lyric “But are you that clever that you smile forever?” reminds me of Pap-Pap. He seemed to never be just “Okay” or “Fine,” he was “Great!” or “Pretty good!” After playing games with Pap-Pap then, and now with friends, I've realized that the experience of the game is not what's on the screen itself, but who you play it with.      
Junior Campbell, Hillsong, and Lostprophets probably have no idea that they are the artists of the soundtrack of my life; that some of their songs helped make me who I am. Thomas the Tank Engine was my friend. Knowing that there is a God in Heaven that can make mountains tremble lets me be confident in seeing one of my best friends again someday. I have a lot of life left to live to learn the ways of being clever and smiling forever. For all these reasons, these songs would be the ones included on the soundtrack of my life.

About the author:
Joshua Curran is a 14-year-old freshman trumpet player, gamer, and writer. He's a member of the Fairfield High School Marching Band and loves every minute of it! Although this post was first written as a school project, it is dear to him because it is written about his Pap-Pap.

Looking to make a tax deductible end-of-the-year contribution? Consider a donation to The Thomas R. Waters Memorial Scholarship Fund for Ergonomics Research. CLICK HERE. 

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  1. Beautifully written, Joshua. Your grandfather was truly unique and certainly one-of-a-kind! I loved him too.

    1. Thank you, Joyce! I'll pass this on to Joshua. Much love to you and Ed.


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