Songs of the {Heart}


The gentleman sitting next to me had his earphone placed deeply in the crevice of his ear, but I still heard the music. I mean, who doesn’t love a little Chicago in the morning? He reminded me of my father, a man who expressed himself with music when he sometimes lost the words. He dreams in spanish, my father. And counts in his native tongue as well. Uno, dos, tres… His records spoke what he felt and he shared it with us.

Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Hall&Oates, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane. He blared these records during my childhood from a pink player while he repaired the car or organized the garage, and my mother shook her head in disapproval from the kitchen window. She doubted the sweet Lord Almighty approved of his music choices, but he told her they were given talents from God for us to enjoy. She shut the window tightly and my sister and I danced barefoot on the asphalt driveway, our soles covered in black. Our souls covered in joy. When I asked my dad why Roxanne didn’t have to put on her Red Light tonight, he wiped his hands on his grimy jeans and changed the record.

Years later I sit next to a gentleman who listened to Chicago on an airplane, and I think of my father. The way he counts, the way he closes his eyes and plays Jimi’s air guitar, the way he instills a love for music. And–every so often–I find myself counting to the the beat of one of my father’s favorite records.

Uno, dos, tres…