Song 024 – Helen Hafen

By January 6, 2018Songs

The music to Grandma Hafen’s song, Helen Hafen, was used as the basis for the music for Psalm 7. When we moved from Houston, I had a farewell concert at Ken Turner’s Art Studio in New Ulm. I sang the first 20 Psalms and the songs the music for these Psalms was based on. In a way, it is a good thing I do not care what people think of my activities. I believe if the basic project is good, at some point in time others will recognize it. There were about 10 people came to my “concert,” including Melanie and her 5 kids. Google Analytics of views of these Psalms, as of the 28th of December, shows there have been 453 sessions, 117 users, and 2,359 page-views since June, with 74.2% returning visitors. While more than came to my concert, over half-a-year, it is about 6 visitors per day. Certainly, this is not a commercial venture. Why do I bring this up? After the concert in New Ulm, I asked my artist friend, if there were any songs that stood out to him. He told me this song about Grandma Hafen was the best one. I was surprised. I sang at an old-folk’s home here in Cedar last year, and some of the residents said they thought this song was a very nice tribute.

Grandma Hafen sent me money each month for my mission. When I got home, I got in the habit of calling her each Sunday night. She wanted to go to China, so I took her when she was in her 80’s (and Aunt Linda, who was also a nurse) on one of my 50+ trips to China. I also took a small recorder, recorded her answers to questions about her life when on the plane, and had my secretary, Sherry Sump, type the notes up when we got home. This audio recording became the basis of Grandma Hafen’s personal history. My passport was stolen, along with a pair of Levi’s, when I went for a run when we first arrived in Beijing. I had to go to Urumqi for the conference I was there for (like flying from New York to San Diego), with a Chinese document the police gave me. I called Grandma and Aunt Linda, and there was no answer. I returned to Beijing right after my talk. When I told my host why I was leaving, he said “You will live a long life.” Here was a Chinese Communist Geophysicist quoting the first commandment with a promise: “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land” (Exodus 20:12). Grandma Hafen and I were close.

Grandma’s song is a condensed repeat of her life history. Talking about her birth, her parents, her Mom’s death, her adoption, how spoiled she was, her mission to California, her marriage to Paul Hafen, the purchase of Calf Springs Ranch, the fun we had at the ranch, Grandpa being one of the first downwinders to die from the 1950’s nuclear tests in Nevada, her weaving, competition and how she never entered a contest unless she got first place, and a graphic example of the sometimes coarseness of her language. This song is a tribute to my Grandma Hafen.

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