My grandson Mattias is now a Senior in high school. I know it would be easy to discount my praise as the ramblings of a typical grandparent. When he could barely walk it became apparent that he had God-given musical gifts. At age two when he would hear a microwave bell he might say “C#”. I told my wonderful organist/consummate musician at South Broadway Christian Church, that he had “perfect pitch”. He politely discounted my bragging, until the day he was practicing the magnificent pipe organ and Mattias (age 4) was rapt with what he was hearing. He invited him down to the organ and played a note. “B-flat”. “Humm you’re right.” After about 15 more notes, all nailed by “T” (my nickname for him) Jim said, “I have never seen anything like that”.
Mattias not only understands music, he loves it. About five years ago he began to focus on playing the saxophone. Two years ago we found him an alto sax in a pawn shop in Wichita. With some rehab work he had a gem of an instrument. I thought I was done buying kids’ tennis shoes, camp fees, and the like. My grandkids know I am an easy mark.
This past Spring “T” spent a week with us. One day he was hanging out with a great friend of MK’s from our former church. She brought out her deceased husband, Rueben’s saxophone. Rueben was raised outside of Trinidad, Colorado. He was as a beautiful and gentle soul. He had spent hours with me in years past trying to heal from the internal warfare of Viet Nam. I had no idea he was an accomplished musician. Our friend showed “T” this tenor saxophone and it prompted a phone call from both T and MK. “Grandpa, I have got to have this sax—it’s amazing. I called my sax teacher and sent him both a picture and the information. He said, ‘Buy it, it’s a gem you will never regret owning’. Please Grandpa, please. I will pay you back.” We bought the sax which is on permanent loan to “T” —I am sure that is not a surprise to any grandparent reading this.
Yesterday I got to talk to my now Senior grandson. They had just done their “rollout” for their marching band with family and friends. In typical Texas style, this band is huge. I asked if he is using his new “Old” sax. “Heck no, they give us school instruments for marching band—that sax is too precious to bang around outside”.
Last April I did have a chance to listen to “T” play with some buddies at a flash mob jazz concert on the town square of Granbury. The sax loved being played again… and I might say played with heart, soul and skill.
Rest In Peace Rueben—my friend your sax lives. Onward and Upward,