How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.
– Buckminster Fuller
I got up early yesterday morning to drive a couple of hours to attend the memorial of my former father in law.
And there he was in my email, good old Facebook having sent me the query, “Do you know S.R. Rudy Martin Jr.?” along with his photo.
The very photo, in fact, that would be part of his memorial.
People spoke of his place in the world, his firsts (the first African-American public school teacher in California, one of the first African-American football players at Cal), the founding professor of Evergreen College, and how he was loved by all.
I spoke of who he was to me and my children.
I did my best imitation of him. (“Good morning’ to ‘ya! Grandpa sees it!”)
But what I really wanted to talk about was how he loved pears – the juicier the better – and how he marveled at the Tiffany lamp in my home.
How he could eat a dozen cinnamon sugar morning buns in a single weekend.
Heated, with butter.
And how, no matter what ungodly hour my ex-husband would make us leave for the airport at the end of each visit, he always got out of bed and threw on his bathrobe to send us off with a hug …
At the end of the ceremony, his son, a Grammy-winning trumpeter, played a jazzed up rendition of Little Drummer Boy for the congregation.
It was transcendent.
And I remember thinking, we don’t need any more words, what we need is more music.
More music …
The memorial was over, and it was time to head home.
I had nothing that needed me (!), so I allowed myself to take the long way home.
To just follow my intuition, drive up the coast and get lost in the mountains.
And along the way, I had more than one Perfect Moment under the canopy of trees.
With the windows rolled down, and the heater on high so I could enjoy the chill and the mist in the air.
And just the right song on the radio …
I stopped in a little town nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains and walked around.
There was a store that sold only ukuleles.
Now, I’ve heard that the ukulele is easy to learn, but I have no innate musical talent. (Like, none at all.)
But my interest was piqued.
So I bought a ukulele.
And suddenly I was excited like a child to learn how to play it.
And when I finally arrived home it was late, so I crawled into bed and taught myself to play Over the Rainbow.
For my children when they return home today.
Because we could all use a little more music.
Now, won’t they be surprised …