Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: JAM (02/09/17)
- TITLE: Celestial Persuasion
By Donna Powers
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I could see clusters of trees up and down a long path. I didn't know where I was, yet my step was sure and I was not afraid.
Faintly, I became aware of some enticing music. It had a country twang. I didn't know the song.
When I came to the end of the path, I could see a small cottage. The windows were pulsing with the rhythm of the music within. Slowly, the door opened, and the melody compelled me to go inside.
In the dim light, I recognized my grandfather. He was playing a long, slender stringed instrument. Its sound was tinny but melodic, and I was entranced. I somehow knew: it was a dulcimer. As I moved in further, I saw my Uncle Rick sitting by his side, plucking a guitar. Finally, I recognized my brother Lee, who was plucking a ukulele.
The thing is: all those men have been dead for over ten years.
I had no idea what was going on, but you couldn't have pulled me away with a crane.
The music filled the room with warmth and beauty. It was as if the notes were infused with joy and laughter, and I listened intently. I'm not a bluegrass fan, but that music warmed my heart in a way I can't describe.
After what may have been either a week or an hour, the music ebbed to a stop. The silence was almost palpable.
I haltingly found my voice. “What is this? What's going on?” I sputtered.
Grandpa smiled. “Just a heavenly jam session. Wanna join?”
“Heavenly? What.. am I dead?”
“Nope, just dreaming,” said Uncle Rick. “Come and play with us.”
I didn't need much persuasion, but I really didn't understand what was going on. “Look, I don't understand how this is happening. And why would you want me to play with you? My violin teacher says I haven't been playing all that well lately.”
Lee laughed and held out my violin. “It's a dream, dude. You'll play wonderfully, tonight.”
Somehow, I knew what to do. I didn't question how my dead brother had gotten my violin. I just picked it up and my fingers knew exactly where to go. There wasn't the usual struggle to place my fingers or the awkward scraping of my bow. I don't think I've ever heard those songs before, but the notes coming from my instrument were infused with fiery energy. My bow skated across the strings and somehow, every note I played blended perfectly with the music made by the others.
It was as if they were truly alive, and I were playing music with them. I was playing better than I'd ever played, and I was full of love for them and the music.
Swirling, hypnotic rhythms swept through the room. I wanted to go on playing for....
“Larry, wake up! It's dinner time!” my Mom's voice stridently broke into the chorus, and suddenly the magical music was gone. I rubbed my eyes and slowly stood up. I desperately wanted to hold onto that music and to my departed family members, but my dream was abruptly over.
As I neared the table, with the warmth of the music still in my heart, I realized what I needed to say. “Hey, Mom? You know how I said I want to quit my violin lessons?”
“Yes, Larry. You know I wish you'd change your mind, but I suppose it's your decision.”
I nodded. “Well, look, I just – yeah, I think I'll keep going to my lessons, OK?”
She put down her casserole dish and sprinted over to hug me. “Of course it's OK, honey! But, what changed your mind?”
“Mom, you wouldn't believe me if I told you.”
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