Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A grumpy weekend before Christmas

I was asked to play at a local zoo with a folkie quartet that a violinist and I regularly "guest" with. No pay, not even gas money, but the zoo management is always nice and appreciative, so the band keeps coming back and sometimes they augment with the "string section". When the time came, I really didn't feel like going. It was to be outside, at night, so it'd be cold (by Socal standards, that is). I had other things at home I wanted to work on. I just didn't feel the group is playing well this year. The kids pretty much ignore us (only the occasional parent seems to show interest). It's noisy. There's nothing I play that's essential, it's all various accompaniments. And I'm tired of Christmas tunes. Also, it weighed on my mind this will be the first Christmas I won't be seeing my 14-year old daughter; she stopped coming to Dad's since February, hence a string of court dates, with more to come. So I came late and was real close to just not showing up.

I sat in the back in "left field" position. Too dark to see the sheet music, and I forgot to bring some of the non-Christmas tunes, so I working on very faulty memory. Ugh, what was I doing here?

Then at some point a very severely handicapped young man in a wheelchair, pushed by perhaps his mother, appeared in front of the band. And he stayed in front of the band for quite some time, rocking to the music and doing his best to see what was going on. Hammer dulcimers can be fun to watch and they were right in the front, but he seemed to be particularly looking at me. It was hard to tell, his motor movements were uncontrolled and jerky, maybe it was just my imagination that he kept staring at me. Then his attendant wheeled him around the band to the back next to me, where he swung his arm, as if bowing back and forth on a cello. He stayed there some time, doing his best to experience what I so little appreciated.

What have I done in my life to deserve be where I was, and he where he was? Nothing! Perhaps Dickens had a point about remembering He who made the lame walk and the blind see.

Little did I know at the time that there was a message on my answering machine from a Court-ordered counselor that my daughter wants to reconcile and re-establish time with me.

I hope this season brings all of you good things as well.

1 comment:

Emily said...

A Christmas miracle. Good tidings to you and your kin, Terry.