I had a wonderful visit with my Mom’s neighbour last month. He’s a retired doctor with an infectious smile and twinkling eyes. He told me about a phone call he had last year with his two teen-aged grandchildren who live on the other side of Canada almost 6,000 km away. They asked him if he had played a musical instrument. He confessed to playing the guitar a bit when he was a medical student. It was a nice balance to the heavy demands of student life. They chatted about other things like his upcoming trip and hung up. He didn’t give it another thought.
December arrived and he and his wife boarded a plane to to take the 7 hour trip across Canada. They were spending Christmas with his daughter and her family. When they arrived, the snow and crisp cold air in Halifax made it feel more Christmassy than the rainy weather they left behind in Victoria.
Soon it was Christmas morning and his grandchildren presented him with a rather large gift. They could barely contain their enthusiasm as he unwrapped it. To his amazement it was a beautiful acoustic guitar, paid for with their babysitting money. “Now you have the time to play, Grandpa!”, they exclaimed.
After telling me this story, with a tear trickling down his cheek, he stood up and walked me into a room off the living room. There stood his guitar, a music stand and some music covered in penciled scribbles. He had started lessons with a local teacher and was playing his guitar everyday. He really enjoyed exploring the guitar and sharing with his grand-kids across the miles. I asked him if he would play something for me. He replied he wasn’t ready yet but promised to in the near future.
Often grandparents give the gift of music to grand children. That was the first time I heard about it the other way around. Music is a gift across the ages and with today's technology it is also a gift across the miles.
I must give him a call and see if he wants to jam :-)