and if you see me then you see my father his birthday then soon not far off at least by that expiration date yet I see him then as now in summer before a father’s day I remember because that’s when David gave it to him gave Solomon his guitar when he was nine the summer of 1975 the expiration on that Cracker Jack box still a few months off waiting for him in winter healing my father was healing maybe because the fear was gone and fear never lasts compared to deep conviction and maybe he said that prayer easier now the prayer all men speak in youth Lord Make me chaste but not yet knowing what Solomon would soon go through what all boys pass to men remembering and he said to Solomon

do you hear it?

and he moved his hand to another string his finger down by five

hear it? that’s Middle C. it’s a low note for a child or woman to sing but high for man. hear it?

and another string and five frets

it’s the same here as it is there and it will always be the same See? it will always be Middle C. always was always will be. find it Son. find it and always know it know it to be the same. think of it as your tuning fork something you can go to knowing it to be still and sure know it with your heart and not just your ears

and I remember looking from his hands to his eyes as he stared at my son and though I don’t understand anything about chord progressions and don’t claim to have perfect pitch nor the musical abilities of my father I saw saw it in his hands in his eyes the humility he had learned for the craft he gave his life what he found missing like a star burning out with only enough energy left to consume itself the restraint in any perception and like in any lie you’re willing to believe because you want it to be true you want to believe the world is not lying to you that it wants to help you in that thing you can’t believe the fulfillment in being a servant to all and I knew the drugs were wearing on him the alcohol after so many years on so many roads far from his family far from anything we could understand the gift that made him fortunate and how it took from him took the dream that anyone could believe and I wanted to say You are loved but would he hear it hear as he did with that surety of his spirit the unwavering sound which his fingers produced on a guitar a guitar he gave to Solomon for his ninth birthday a guitar with so many stories behind it some he told me some I’d heard from my mother from legend or would he hear instead a memory that Old Man who tuned it so long ago the deal You can give them your heart but I own your soul would he believe that lie instead like all the lies trying to sell you something like he couldn’t even hear the note the border between treble and bass all of it proprioception his inner ear inclining him to fall

so if you look at me look at him and look not to Mississippi for with fear and trembling I go to God now

not in fear of hell because I’ve already been there and that’s not where you change

I go with his songs in my heart he in me in Solomon in my newborn son and on that day I learned something from him I learned not all pieces of music start with Middle C

only the easiest pieces start there but his music my father David’s music could start anywhere and by showing me showing Solomon where it could begin I began to understand how they ended when all the words faded when the strings ceased to hum and he heard in the silence in his heart the Voice

Be Still and know that I am God