He’s 84 and has been taking Ukulele lessons from me for over a year. He first came in because he was taking ukulele lessons at a Community Center and wanted help with his strumming. His hands shake, I wondered, what to do? We did the basic quarter note strum, Down (1), Down (2), Down (3), Down (4) over and over again, until he said, “ah, anyone can do this, I’m bored…” When I compared the strum to the beating of his heart, he relaxed and kept strumming.
I look forward to seeing him at 10am on the dot, he rings my bell, I greet him and we slowly walk back into my teaching space. He always calls out my cat’s name, she loyally saunters over to him and they greet each other with mutual respect. My cat, Basura, claims his empty ukulele case as we start our lesson. He always has many questions, “Why this? how do I do that?” as I explain, his eyes narrow as he looks for understanding.
This morning we played and sang several songs, his favorites right now are. “I’ll Remember You” and “Hawaiian Wedding Song”. I insist he sings, he claims that he’s not very good, but good naturally sings anyway. As our ukuleles and voices mix and mingle in the air, we are both happy, it’s simply magic.
He’s a lovely soul, kind enough to allow me to call a sick friend and brighten her day with music. I ask if he’s up for it, he blushes and says, surely no one wants to hear him, but she does and so we do.
He wants to plan our playlist for her, saying that he’s not ready to do this or that, but hey, how about this? We make the call, my friend sounds sick and sad, but when she hears it’s us, ready for a grand performance, she perks up and my heart tightens with love for them both.
How, I wonder is this happening, this friendship between my student and friend, separated by miles and years, how can they find such delight in each other? As our time together draws to an end, he tells her that we are going on tour, she makes him promise that we’ll perform in her hometown, he promises. They tell each other they love each other, to stay healthy, and I feel like a fly on the wall.
Today’s musing: Sometimes Music is better than Medicine