11 November 2009


By the time I was born
he had been playing music for forty years
So why, at the age of seventy
he still felt the need to practice was beyond me
but now with him gone for only ten days
I am thankful for hearing those never ending ups and down
The Soundtrack To My Childhood.

His full head of salt and pepper hair
with brave sideburns
the clarinet sticking out from the cheeks
between the chops
slight head tilt, back and forth
left and right
keeping rhythm with the lifting and falling notes

He would play songs too
being so young i didn't know
Mack the Knife or
Strutting With Some Barbeque
All I knew then was The Muppet Show
All I remember are the graceful steps
From low B to High C then Low A to High B
Maybe he was telling me
that life has it's ups and downs, high and lows

Ten days ago
his family surrounding him
sharing memories and talking to him
half conscious but foot still tapping
arthritic fingers still playing notes with
The Joe Mooney Quartet on the CD player
He finally perfected the simultaneous High and Low A's
The highest and lowest he could get

As I held his hand
he took his last breath
let all of his pain win
But lost all of his pain, forever.

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