A wonderful gift


I have recently taken to visit an elderly person. This man is in his 80s, and in the last few years has had several health issues. But when I knew him some years ago, he used to play banjo in a jazz band. Despite memory problems, he is cheered up when I go because I take a couple of my ukes and we sing along together some of the songs that he knows (not difficult for me – many of the songs I sing already are 30s/40s/50s). It also gives his wife a bit of a break as she can wander off, talk on the phone or sit elsewhere reading without either of them worrying. As he has been unable to play any stringed instrument for a while now, it was really nice to be given one of the few things that he still had from when he was in the jazz band – his personal chord books. There are two of them, smallish notebooks. I’ll use them, but also I will pass them on to someone else who might want them. You can see that they were meticulously kept, small handwritten affairs, and only as an aide memoire, not exhaustive. And were obviously well-used over a number of years:

Image showing two books opened at a random page

We have to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. There are many people who are more experienced and more capable musicians than me, and many who have left a legacy for me to follow. I just pray that I can do it justice.

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