“Because He Knew the Song”

Only one more day of celebrating my virtual book tour left. If you’d like to win a copy of my book or a bookshop.org gift card, go here.

Quick note: the café where I write is indeed closing. There are seven more days to visit it, and I told them I will be here every day until they close. I have been deeply mourning it. When I came into the shop for the first time after hearing the news, I burst into tears. I have been making arrangements with many of these wonderful people, both staff and customers, to meet up elsewhere in the future. I’ve invited many of them to my hubby’s gig in town over the weekend so we can connect further. (Don’t tell him, but I think there’s going to be a nice crowd.)

“I’ll be at the library most days. Let’s meet there,” I say. I’ve been doing online shopping for an outdoors desk. Some of us are talking about possibly renting a communal workspace uptown. If my café friends work at a business in town, I am pledging to stop in more often to see them. We are exchanging phone numbers for texting.

I will likely post more about this in the coming days. For now, I’m inundating my poor daughter and husband with my sorrow. I just pledged to my long-suffering family that I will try to buck up and deal. One thing that’s helping is doing my taxes and seeing how much I’ve spent at the café this year. Have mercy!

Okay, back to today’s post.

My family’s time in Nashville wasn’t primarily for music. We were just living our lives and musical opportunities presented themselves from time to time. In fact, Barry was in constant contact with a Grammy-winning artist and didn’t say a word about being able to play guitar until the man needed a guitar player and asked if Barry knew anyone. He just happened to, and he worked with the guy weekly after that. The guy announced publicly that there was a guitar god in his midst that he hadn’t even known about. 😉

Though Barry never indicated for a moment that he regretted the opportunities he turned down because he had a family, I felt it for him. That’s why the moment our kids were old enough and he had an audition opportunity, I insisted he take it and tried not to complain when he was gone most weekends with the band.

He also had so many other memorable opportunities to meet and/or work with musical icons and legends, though often behind the scenes. Sadly, that was just before cell phones had cameras, for the most part. And he’s never been much of a fan of taking pics with notables. I like that about him.

One opportunity that came about just because we were in the right place at the right time was being asked to be in the choir for a videotaping of country gospel artist Ann Downing’s video. Barry and I sang in the choir, and our son was included in the children seated around Ann while she sang her best-known song, Jacob’s Ladder. Our daughter, a teen, and her friends were drafted to keep an eye on the younger ones and teach them the song behind the scenes. (Though knowing some of those kids, those teens trying to keep them in line were the true stars of the day! I think our daughter was in the audience during the song with the children, but I can’t find a frame with her in it. Rats.)

Musical anyway, our son had come prepared. He was seated in a new shirt and fresh haircut in the circle with his friends and other children he had never met. Not old enough yet to be shy, he clapped and sang along as instructed. You can tell he’s enjoying himself.

What wasn’t scripted was Ann holding the mic out and letting Zack sing a line! Our son had an unanticipated solo! Here’s the link, if you’d like to watch. (He’s at just after the five-minute mark. And alas, it’s a grainy copy.)

Oh, and there I am in the choir in all my dark-haired glory (!) with Barry to my left. (He also had a fresh haircut and was not keen on it. I think he looks cute.) Our positions might have shifted during the six hours it took to record this special. I’m not sure, but it feels like we were moved from time to time. It was a LONG day, and I was wearing heels. Yikes! We were told to sway and smile. Sure, sway and smile for hours in heels. No worries.

Who knew the clip would become a family treasure, something we share with every girlfriend Zack brings over just to “embarrass” him. (Don’t tell him, but I think he kinda likes it. If you have some good vibes to send his way right now, please do…)

When Barry asked Ann afterwards why she picked Zack, she said “Because he knew the song.” I also think it’s because he’s adorable and he sings in pitch with a nice tone, which she had surely heard during rehearsal. It was a moment of triumph for him, and it warms my heart seeing it again today.

May you always have a special place that makes you feel warm and cozy. And may it never close.


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