One fine warm afternoon toward the end of the week and the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, my son asked me if I wanted to jam with him on the front porch. This was in part because we are working on a few songs to sing together at the little wine bar where we both play, he on Thursdays and I on Fridays. Jamming with him is great fun, and we sound really good, if I am allowed to brag.
So, there we are on the porch, rocking and rocking out. From around the corner, muffled by a shrub comes a small voice. We stop. The voice and the face come clear into view. It is the little boy who lives next door. This precocious third grader is often out in front, playing historical make-believe, mostly by himself. Sometimes he shows up as Sherlock Holmes or Robin Hood. But mostly he is a colonial-era man, complete with knickers, blue coat and three-cornered hat. He brandishes a flintlock firearm and dumps tea into the harbor. His mom, God bless her, even made him a little wig out of white pillowcase material, with side curls wrapped around toilet paper rolls. He has a tiny black ribbon attached to the tail of it too.
Anyway, boy-next-door comes around the bend with wide eyes at the sound of the music on the porch. "I can play Yankee Doodle on the violin!", he cried with excitement. "Oh, and 'Ode to Joy' too!" "Well, then go get your instrument!," my son charged. The boy smiled and skipped off. He was back in a flash, armed with violin, bow and sheet music. He began to play a clear and excellent 'Yankee Doodle'. "Wait!" I cried. "I'm going to get my banjo!" Now we had guitar, violin and banjo. We began to play. It sounded great. The door flew open. My other son (also a musician) appeared with his tin whistle. Four instruments playing the most classic of American songs. We also played 'Ode to Joy', but on that perfect patriotic weekend with flag flying from the garage door and little Mr. Militia fiddling energetically, I glimpsed a moment of pure heaven. I was proud of all three of these boys, proud of the REAL militia who gave everything and who we remembered that very weekend. Life is good. God Bless America.