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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

TITLE: The day the music died. (ii)
By T. F. Chezum


In olden times the world lost its appreciation for music. Considered to be a boorish waste of time, society pressured musicians to change their vocation or be outcast from society.

“Dad, why does Grandpa have to live here?” Steve protested.

Jim grabbed his keys from the table. “Something with his heart, he can’t be alone.”

“He’s from the hills. He’s not like us.” Steve’s eyes remained glued to the monitor on his desk.

“He won’t be here long.” Jim stepped outside. “He’s probably tired from his trip. Just watch him for today.”

Steve huffed in acknowledgement.

Don walked into the living-room, an unusual object tucked under his arm.

“Grandpa.” Steve turned from his computer. “What’s that?”

He moved the case into view. “This?” He chuckled. “You’ve never seen a violin before?”

“What’s it do?”

A perplexed expression crossed the man’s face. “You play music with it.”

Steve stood up. “Music?” he queried. “Nobody’s played music in decades. It’s a total waste.”

Don placed a hand on his grandson’s shoulder. “Music opens the mind. It soothes the soul and brings enjoyment to one’s life.”

Steve pulled away. “Life’s too hectic, there’s more important things.”

“That’s ridiculous.” Don nestled the instrument under his arm. “There’s always time for music.” He headed for the door. “People need it.”

“What’re you doin’?”

A wry smile tugged the corners of Don’s mouth. “I’m going to the park across the street. I’ll find a bench in the shade, and play my violin.” He winked at the boy.

“You’re going to play it in the park?” Steve shook his head.

“I’m not ashamed of my music.” He looked back at the boy. “Why don’t you join me?”

Steve stood a safe distance from his grandfather as he pulled the bow across the strings. The sound started slow and simple; in short time the melodic nuances began to emerge. The youngster watched in amazement as the expression on the elderly man’s face evolved from deep concentration to total serenity.

“Sounds strange,” Steve muttered. He watched with growing intrigue. After a short time, the tune transfixed his senses; a tranquil smile emerged on his face.

Don continued to play, oblivious to the small group gathering near.

After many minutes, Don laid his instrument on his lap. Murmurs of appreciation and fascination spread amongst the crowd.

An older man stepped forward. “Thank you so much,” he said. A glint of happiness reflected in his eyes. “I had nearly forgotten how beautiful music can be.”

Steve hugged his grandfather. “That was cool.” He grabbed the violin. “Maybe some day you can teach me how to play this.”

The afternoon recitals became routine. Steve stood by his grandfather’s side, taking advantage of every opportunity to learn. People brought blankets to the park and sat with their families in anticipation of the soothing melodies.

After every performance Don tutored the boy.

“I wish I could play.” Steve dropped the bow in frustration. “Like you do.”

“You must be patient.” Don returned the bow to his grandson’s hand. “It’s a talent, a gift, but you must work to obtain it. Now, try again.”

Steve fixed his eyes on the music and began to play. His feeble, jerky movements settled into a fluid rhythm. A moment later he completed the simple tune.

“I did it,” he erupted with excitement

“I’m proud of you.”

“Grandpa.” Steve bounded into the bedroom. “It’s time to go.”

Don lifted his head from the pillow, beads of sweat on his brow. “I don’t think I’ll make it today.” His voice sounded weak.

“What’s wrong?” Tears welled in the boys eyes. “Is it your heart? We can…”

Don shook his head. “My time’s over.”

“If you die,” Steve sobbed. “Your music will die, too.”

“The music cannot die.” The weary man struggled for air. “Even if only one person continues playing it.”

The boy grasped his grandfather’s hand. “I’m still learning.”

“Don’t be ashamed of your talent.” He squeezed Steve’s hand, in return. “You’ve practiced for many months now.”

“My music isn’t as good as yours.”

“Not worse or better, but unique to you.” Don sighed, “It is your time.”

Steve wept.

“Don’t grieve.” Don’s breathing labored.

Steve embraced the elderly man. “I love you.” His voice quivered. “I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll be with you, in your music.” His hand slid from Steve’s grip.

Steve picked up the instrument from beside the bed and clutched it to his chest.

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This article has been read 846 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mo 03/15/07
This one made me teary. One nit-picky thing (& note that I am NOT in Masters!) -- I think I might've preferred the Grandfather's words as the very last words of the piece. Very creative & so well done!
Linda Watson Owen03/16/07
Ah, and the music in this piece symbolizes so many things: a person's faith, testimony, purity of living, God-given skills and talents of all kinds, the Spiritual Gifts lived out. Wonderful choice for this week's theme!
Leigh MacKelvey03/16/07
I Love the title. It's so familiar and fit well with the story. I see many layers in this story and I appreciate the thought that went into the writing of this very unique entry. I'd givethis music entry a 10!
Great beat and you can dance to it.
Amy Michelle Wiley 03/17/07
How very creative! Good job.
Jacquelyn Horne03/17/07
Sad but wonderful story of life going on in spite of death. Good writing. I was in the story all the way.
Donna Powers 03/18/07
A lovely story of passing the torch: of music, of faith, of life and love. Very well done
Jan Ackerson 03/19/07
Wonderful allegory, beautifully and sensitively written. The little "note" at the top was a masterful touch.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/19/07
This story was such a good reminder of the truth that we live on through what we teach those who come after us. I like how you made music the bond that generated love between the boy and his grandfather.
Catrina Bradley 03/19/07
I've often wondered what it would be like to hear music for the first time. This is a wonderful tribute to the power of music - thank you.
Sandra Petersen 03/19/07
I thought it interesting that Steve thought playing music was "a total waste" yet in the previous scene with his father, the kid's eyes are glued to a monitor on his desk. Waste is whatever we perceive it to be.

Nice dialogue between characters. I was wondering how you were going to tie in that lyric from Don Maclean's song. Good job.
Jen Davis03/19/07
I can not imagine a world without music. Just reading this piece gave me a greater appreciation for it. As you said in your story, “…it soothes the soul and brings enjoyment to one’s life.” I enjoyed the relationship between the grandfather and grandson in this very nicely written story.
Joanne Sher 03/20/07
Wow. This is so emotionally provoking and haunting and amazing. It sent chills up my spine. No wonder you are in masters!
Sara Harricharan 03/20/07
Very touching! I liked the relationship between the grandfather and grandson. Kind of teacher/student. It was nice to have the music still carrying on even after a death. ^_^
Pat Guy 03/20/07
Wow! Very thought provoking and a well presented scenario. You drew me in and kept me at the park renewing the wonder of music. Well done Tim! ;)
Sherrie Jackson03/20/07
This is nice, simply written with a lot to think over and chew on. I've always loved stories from the future in which people rediscover these most precious gifts that we take for granted. This gave me chills in places. Very well done!
LaNaye Perkins03/21/07
Oh my goodness, you made me cry! I loved this story, it was sooooooooooo good! Well done!
Julie Arduini03/21/07
So emotional! I loved the grandson's progression from not sure what to make of grandpa to not sure how he could go on without him. Wonderful work!
Betty Castleberry03/21/07
This is a great example of many things, not the least of which is that seniors have much to share with the world. I love anything that honors them and their talents, and this was no exception. Very well done. You get a gold star. ;0)