Joey has a Christmas concert tonight.
He plays the trumpet.
His band teacher thinks he has a gift.
So do I but I’m biased and claim credit for his interest coz, when he was a baby riding back seat driver in his car seat, I’d play CDs of Louis Armstrong, Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth Brass Band, Fats Domino, Dr. John and I’d sing to him at the top of my lungs.
Then, when he was in second grade, on holiday break from school, I’d pick him up and we’d go shopping for presents.
He’d get in my car and ask, “Got any music to get us in the spirit?”
That year, my favorite was The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Christmas Album so I put it on the player.
Joey was jumpin’ from the first note and, by the time the final track, “Last Month of the Year,” started, he was singing full throttle, ” October, no. November, no, no. The twenty fifth day of December. When was Jesus born?”
I loved that time spent with him. It was joyous. Today, he’s thirteen and is concentrating on his mannishness.
The coaches love him. And he loves them.
The other day, he said, “I think I’m gonna quit band.”
And I said, “No, sir.”
“But I’ve got so much…”
“And all I ask is you keep that horn close to your heart. Even if it’s only in the band room.”
He rolled his eyes and dropped the subject.
But he’s on stage tonight and I’m in the audience.
Afterwards, in the car, it won’t be Christmas music on his i-phone. That’s okay coz tonight he played that hundred dollar pawn shop trumpet I bought him like he meant it.
Coz he meant it. Just like he means it on the football field, like he means it on the basketball court. Just like he meant it when he was eight years old singing, “When was Jesus born?”