Last year, in the midst of Klamath National Forest I was invited to a Memorial Day cookout. I knew two of the forty some people there, and four of the eleven dogs (two of them were mine).
I met some good people there, and more during the summer months I camped at the Hungry Hay Placer Mining Claim. I learned a lot about gold mining, and even found a very small bit of gold that took 4 hrs per day for six months to collect. Not even worth the gas to go to the store and back once, but it was fun.
I learned more about nature and used it to write more music and to write children stories. I remembered, and according to my notes, promptly forgot, parts of my life that had been blanked from my mind. Some memory lost to emotional trauma, some to physical trauma, and perhaps more to vanish as time goes on.
But this is about Vinny...a boy at the cookout who had spent the week at the campsite with his parents to hold the space for the gathering. And it is about a little girl, a friend of his family, who was celebrating her birthday. Now Vinny was a first year violinist and with some coxing from his mother had brought his instrument out to the camp. It was safe in their very long fifth-wheeler, and he had been practicing how to play Happy Birthday.
Vinny's mother felt he had mastered it well enough so she asked him to play if for the assembled guests. Uh oh! Stage fright set in and Vinny could not be persuaded to play. I saw fear in his eyes and a tenseness in his neck and shoulders. I had met Vinny a few days before so wasn't a complete stranger to him. I went over to where he and his mother were discussing it. She trying to persuade him, and him trying to back away.
"Vinny," I said, "I didn't know you played Violin. I played Cello for a very long time, but now I write music for people to play. I compose for most of the instruments in the orchestra." And so we chatted for a bit about his year of Violin playing. What he had learned, and the notes he knew. I told him I would write him a piece of music. And I did. That evening back at my campsite after washing some blacksands down to the cleanest particles...I pulled out a sheet of music paper and wrote Vinny's Tune.
The following day was the last of the gathering. I drove the four miles over there and presented the music to Vinny with his father present. These days it is not wise to offer children anything without a parent at hand. They need the security of knowing the offering is okay with their parents. The parent needs to know they have control, and that the offering is not something wrong. There is too much wrongness in the world as it is.
As most young boys, Vinny didn't really appreciate the gift immediately, but after his mother came over to join us and started asking him what notes this one, that one, and those, were he perked up a bit. I left him a message that the tune was his. Whatever his mood he could play that tune and take it slow or fast to suit himself. It could be sad, it could be speedy, it could be slow, it could be happy. And so it is. It is Vinny's Tune. I also told him that I hoped he continued playing for many, many years.
Why would I talk about Vinny and his tune? Because I have three children, whom I have also written music for, and named the pieces for them. They have yet to hear them, and may never hear them, as I don't know where any of them live. There is much I don't know, bits I do, and much I fear to know. Is it emotional? Yes. Is it physical? Yes. Will I live long enough to overcome either or both? Perhaps not.
This year I expect much of my music will be published and archived in other places than just on my computers. Someday perhaps my children will find my works, including the simple Vinny-like tunes bearing their names. They don't have to like them, but they will know that often I think about them and wish that the blanks were filled.
I am thinking that after I have posted Vinny's Tune for a short while I may post the pieces for my children. I may do that. I may forget because much of the present gets forgotten, but by writing here I may get around to it yet.
I seem to recall wanting a round-tuit.