“Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.” – Mary Hopkins.
He’s gone now. I think it’s been three years since I got the phone call. I miss him and his music to this day.
He was a musician.
He could play anything. He started with his Dad’s clarinet. He was in the fifth grade. Later on, he found a piano, then a guitar, then a flute and a saxophone. He made his life, living on a stage, leaning against a microphone, turning pages and giving his heart away.
He made music.
I swear, I think he could have taken a blade of grass and made more music than most radios play.
There’s another musician I know. He plays the trumpet. He played every piece of music he laid eyes upon. That trumpet saved him from a trip to Viet Nam, as sure as I’m sitting here. God gave him a talent. He’s been a man of God since. He’s still making music.
Babs played the piano down in New Orleans. She knows every song that’s ever been written. I promise you that’s the truth, or close to it. She was playing at the bar the night Sue and I got married. She played last week in a park in town. She’s still going strong.
And the others. They picked up guitars in junior high school. They formed bands, hiding out in garages, then running onto stages.
Today, deep into their old age benefits, they’re still playing, still making music. Still giving it away.
I’ve always been wanting, when it comes to making music. I like it, I sing in the car. I listen to the radio. Loud. I can play air guitar. Sometimes I have an imaginary keyboard on my desk top.
Once upon a time, I could play chopsticks on an old upright piano.
I was in the high school band. I tried. It just didn’t work. I couldn’t keep the notes straight. I couldn’t remember the right notes. The good ones always got lost and I kept finding the wrong ones.
Saturday, I was standing in front of another stage. Listening to the music. Enjoying the moment. Feeling the heavy beat of the drums and the bass guitars.
Where does it come from? The lady up front sang twenty songs. I can’t sing Happy Birthday.
I envy the people who walk out on an empty stage, they look around, find a note or two, then start the music. What kind of world do they live in, where they have a thousand songs in their head, all the time, everywhere they go? They can reach back, pull up a song and give it life, just because they want to.
We, who can’t carry a tune in a bucket, miss out on a lot.
And, I still find it hard to believe he’s gone.
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