The way the schedule goes, on Wednesday nights, my eldest sister Terri eats dinner with our father and the rest of the week is divided up between my older siblings. However, if she or any of them for that matter, is out of town or has a scheduling conflict, I’m called to fill in. Living down the street from him, offers me the opportunity to stop by more often–which doesn’t necessarily happen as often as we’d both like; but puts me in the unique position to be the “swing” personnel who fills in when others are busy. For the last two weeks, my sister has been in Florida, soaking up the rays, leaving me in charge of feeding him.
There have been times when all of us have shown up to eat with him, you know, the boy, hub, doll and me; but this can be overwhelming for my (almost) 94-year-old father. He has told me on more than one occasion that he feels as if he needs to entertain the kids. In reality, my kids feel the same way about hanging out with him. As the result, the last few times I’ve shared dinner with my father, I’ve been the only one in attendance.
Last Wednesday, following dinner, he and I played on YouTube in what he called a “Concert”. Last night, I took him to a real concert at the University of Toledo, to watch his grandson Ben, perform in his final Senior Jazz Recital. Only this time, I invited the boy to come along with us. “Mom…” The boy began voicing his objection. “Bay, this will be a good experience for you” I replied, clamping shut any opening the boy sought to exploit. Together, the three of us ate dinner before leaving for the show.
One of the reasons I wanted the boy to come with us was simply because I thought he might enjoy the music, even though his loyalties lie in classic rock at the moment. Other reasons include spending an evening with his grandfather and I, away from home. But perhaps my biggest reason to bring him along had more to do with disconnecting from the internet for an evening–and surviving. But the boy wouldn’t be who he is without something interesting to post. When we all first arrived, my father sat up front, so he could see the piano play more clearly. I sat a few rows back, hoping to record some of the show while the boy sat off to the side with cousin Nole. I made a great DP, filming the show and snapping a few fun shots of the boy “enjoying” the show. On the ride home, he complained “Those chairs hurt my back” when I asked why he was lying back. He also added, “I like to examine ceilings while listening to music. They lend a blank sheet for my imagination to roam”.
All in all, we had a very entertaining night of jazz music. My dad hummed one song he found particularly mesmerizing, all the way home and vowed to learn how to play the song himself in the upcoming weeks. The boy was happy to be away from chairs that apparently were too small for him (go figure) and I was happy with the jazz music I listened to and the fact the boy looked at something other than a video screen for the evening. Win-Win-Win for all of us.
If you’d like to listen to some of Ben’s music, feel free to click the links below. Also, if you’re looking to hire him… let me know, and I’ll hook you two up… lol.
The first link is an original composition, collaboration with Ben and William Strickler: Fatty Stroll. Enjoy!