We’ve spent the past few months hanging out in Rhode Island with PJ’s mom, Carole. Mostly to make sure her care is as good as it can be but also to enjoy the Ocean State summer and visit with friends. One thing many people don’t know about Carole is that she was an avid musician in her day, accomplished on piano and carrying a love of singing. I tried learning a bit of piano when we were staying with her last year but it is really a lot of work so this time I stuck to banging on the guitar and beating on a few percussion instruments.
Any remnants of music criticism Carole may have been holding onto has been relinquished and she is now my biggest fan. Whether it’s Merle Haggard or Jefferson Airplane, if I’m missing notes or muting strings, she appreciates every refrain. She loves sitting on the porch on a warm summer day shaking a maraca and singing along to her favorites, usually something by Sinatra or my home spun rendition of Danny Boy.
Carole is always up for a chance to get out of the house and out into the world at large. PJ took her to the Gaspee Day parade down in Pawtuxet back in June. They wheeled the chair down to the parade route and sang all of the patriotic tunes along with the marching bands rhythmically moving along Narragansett Parkway. Carole may falter a step occasionally in the short term memory department but she remembered every word to all of the American favorites.
Occasionally a friend will stop by and we can strum a duet and give her some different variations to listen to. My friend Harlan came by and we mixed up some Pink Floyd and Arlo Guthrie that she seemed to like. In mid July, some of his bro’s were setting up a drum circle down at the Temple of Music so we rolled Carole across the lawn and she had an amazing time wielding her Native American shaker and grooving to the beat. She was a celebrity with all of the crew and she had a special affinity for our friend Josh, she was watching his drumming and kept commenting on his long hair. She’s good for maybe two hours on an outing so we do our best to keep it under that. She had a great day and couldn’t stop talking about it until it slipped from her files the next day. Any time there’s a tune in the air she finds a special peace and that’s just a testimony to the power of music. May the beat go on.