Dad's Raincoat


I'm teaching in a tent today. Well, today and every day, as long as I have a choice. Outdoors, where the air is clean and the kids are happy and we can take off our masks and make music. 

Today, I had the choice to teach inside. I tried one lesson. Then I changed my mind. I don't know what trumpet germs do inside so I decided it's not so bad out there. I'll grab a broom to drain the pooled water on the roof every ten minutes, and I'll make the best music with kids that we ever made. And that's what we're doing. I love my job. 

But. Today, the rain, the wet ground. Kids have bags. Bags get wet when you leave them on the ground. So I looked at my little flute player and her cute little white, pink, and blue knapsack,and I said, "Hold on." I ran to my car and got Dad's old yellow raincoat. When Dad died a year or two ago, I didn't take a lot from his things, but we did take all three of his yellow raincoats. They are all a little dirty, because he really wasn't particular about taking care of his things... but he did believe in quality, so he spent the most he could afford on outdoor gear, on snowmobiles, on motorcyles and boots, and helmets, and fishing gear, and tools. I am exactly like that. I have good things, but I treat it all like crap. And because it's good, it survives. 

So, I laid that raincoat right down on the ground. And she put her cute little bag on it. Today is Halloween at school and she was wearing a pink princess dress and a tiara. She sat down for her lesson, and immediately told me a long story about how she left her last school because a boy on the bus called her a baby. She called him a BennyCryPants back and he punched her. She screamed. And now she goes to this school. This was way more important than her getting her Ruby medal in the Band Olympics today. I listened. 

When the lesson was over, she left and I picked up Dad's raincoat out of the mud. It was even worse than it was before. But her bag didn't get wet. I thought about Dad. Dad loved music. Dad told me to keep playing when I wanted to quit. Dad made me practice when I didn't want to. And now music brings me the most beautiful moments, moments like these and still others. More beautiful than I could possibly imagine. 

Dad would have been very proud.

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