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I've started making time to play after a long hiatus, which Savannah appreciates greatly. My fingers are growing calluses again, allowing me to play for longer periods. Savannah's sister hears us and sits on the floor. She makes a request for "Octopus Garden."
"And, Dad," she continues, "don't play 'Puff the Magic Dragon,' it's just too depressing... or the one about the old man with Alzheimer's."
From the other room I hear Tamara, "You mean 'The Dutchman?' I love that song."
(link to "The Dutchman" as performed by one of my childhood heroes, Steve Goodman):
I say, "Savannah, how about I play something I haven't played since you were a baby?"
She tilts her head to look at me askance, which is how she does it when she's really interested.
After several false starts with the arpeggio pattern and key, I finally clamp the capo to the right fret and sing "Amazing Grace."
Savannah begins to giggle, then laugh from the belly as she recognizes the tune. She drowns me out with a long open /a/ vowel, which is her only vocalization. We sing together, louder and louder as the song builds until she breaks into her snorting, horse-laugh. She heaves with joy. Her wheelchair creaks and rocks with her motion.
It's times like these that I begin to understand this journey I share with Savannah. We have endured so much pain and sorrow that, at times, buried us under a heavy curtain of darkness. But with the music of her laughter, the senselessness of this life dissolves for a few golden seconds. I glimpse behind the dark curtain and we are united in grace.
#love #disability #music #cat #specialneeds #singing #inspiration #hope #happiness #grace
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