After a few weeks’ break, I’m so incredibly happy to resume Small Moments Mondays.
And I can’t think of anyone better to kick things off than John, from The Adventures of Daddy Runs a Lot.
What words can I use to describe John? Witty, kind, intelligent, loquacious, driven? Yes, all of those things.
But there’s more…there’s something amazing about how all of those qualities come together and make John who he is.
Thank you, John, for sharing this lovely story here on in these small moments. Your generosity means the world to me.
What a Wonderful World–by John
I can say that “I love music,” but that’s like saying “I like to eat” or “I prefer breathing to any alternative” for many of us. I named my son Coltrane after the greatest tenor saxophone player to ever live. I am constantly playing some instrument, or singing, to my kids because I need them to know the joy that music gives me1.
All of this brings us to Louis Armstrong, whom I love for a plethora of reasons, though two stand out more than the rest. First is the quote “There is two kinds of music the good and bad. I play the good kind. which may or may not have been said first by Armstrong – but it doesn’t matter. It’s a kick-ass quote, and it allows me to turn up the volume anytime the t.A.T.u. anthem “All the Things She Said” comes up on my iPod with minimal embarrassment.
The next is that he made the song “What a Wonderful World” popular. Now, this is a great song, and it likely would have found roots throughout popular culture no matter who “ran with it” first, but it was Louie, and I love him for it.
While the song is a great song about the importance of the acceptance of racial diversity, it’s the last verse that brings me to my small moment.
I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They’re learning more
Than we’ll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
When you’re playing a keyboard instrument with a baby on your lap, you expect the little one to pound on the black & white keys before him or her. They’re there, and when they’re pounded on, they make noise, and they control that noise, and that control is good.
I can usually only take a few minutes of this.
But, the other day, I had to stop & stare in wonder.
We were in the music room (I have a lot of instruments, so they’re all relegated to what would be the “formal living room” in most houses) when the boy asked to play the organ (which he does, at his 21 months old, by pointing and grunting). I sat down on the bench, my 14-month-old girl in my lap, lifted the boy onto the bench beside me, turned the organ on, turned on some voices, and we all started playing a little something.
It didn’t take long for my girl to want to wander about. On the floor were a set of maracas, and shaking those was a lot more interesting than the stupid noises she was making, so I went to put her down on the floor.
Somewhere along the way, the “clear voices” button was hit on the organ . . . it was on, but pressing the keys simply didn’t make a sound. CJ started pressing buttons until the keys made sounds, and he looked with his “serious face” as he realized that the sound changed as different of these buttons were pressed. So, then he pressed more & more buttons until they keys made a sound he liked.
Rather than just pounding on the keys, beating them with his fists, he took one finger and started pressing the keys, individually.
He’d play a few notes, stop, and then press the voice selectors, turning some on and some off, until there was something in the sound that the notes made that “worked” for him.
As I sat on the ground, shaking maracas with my little girl, he sat at the organ and started playing a melody (well, random notes, but random notes played one at a time) and did this babblesing along with them.
I sat, my daughter in my lap, marveling at the fact that I was actually watching the boy learn, right before my eyes.
He turned his head to the left and gave me that great big smile that he gets when he “gets” something (as he tries to figure something out, he has a look of utmost concentration) and then asked for help getting off the organ bench . . . the guitar had caught his eye.
What a wonderful world, indeed.