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Cool, but now what?

November 21, 2008

Here’s one of those many beginnings I have which goes nowehere as of yet. I think I have to take it somewhere. There’s something in there.

From the middle of December through almost August, my dad had no rhythm. He didn’t sing, he didn’t dance, he didn’t float through the house from room to room with his usual grace and confidence. It took me a few weeks to realize it but the days were dark. There was a tint to the collective family lens. We all felt it. I was ten, it was four years ago, and it was the first time that I could ever remember him not practicing his guitar at least once every day. Even on holidays.  Even on my birthday. Even on the day my grandmother died. His guitar was his life.  It was his heart, he once told me. And then one day he just stopped playing. He never talked about it, he never mentioned why and he never seemed to miss it (he never played air-guitar or anything). He just kept it locked in it’s case up in his office and never opened it. Yeah, they were dark days even in the bright and lively and colorful spring and all through most of the summer. The loss affected my mom, my older brother, our little sister and me. All of us. And then one day, just as it was as if we were all about to go overboard crazy, when every little thing in the house seemed off kilter, too out of balance and about to explode from the tension, we all heard the gentle ease of his strumming and it was as if everything immediately fell back into it’s place.  My mom and my sister smiled at each other and Martin looked like he was going to cry. I put down the magazine I was skimming and just closed my eyes and strained to listen to everything he played.  It was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was really good. It was my sister’s favorite song, Rocky Mountain High, and he played it for six or seven minutes, just his guitar and our family’s heartbeats and breathing all together before he finally started to sing. Nobody moved.  He played that one song for about fifteen minutes singing it through a few times and then he stopped and put it away. Fifteen minutes and every time he hit that chorus, “and the Col-o-rado Rocky Mountain High…” man it gave me chills. Fifteen minutes and it was over. Fifteen minutes of music that did nothing less than save his family. Really.

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