When I was a child, my mother would sing. She had a voice like an angel and was quite popular in the local musician circles. Each Friday night, there would be a jam session, called a hoot-nannie, at either our house or someone else’s. My sister, brothers and I would spread a quilt behind the couch and listen to the grown-ups sing and play music until we would fall asleep and have to be carried to our beds. I wanted to sing and play the guitar or piano so my grandmother bought me a guitar when I was five. The price I had to pay was to sit on the stage at the holy-roller church she belonged too each Sunday and several nights a week with my guitar and try to play along with the sons of the Reverend Powers. Larry Powers was left handed and could play anything he could hear on his Fender Telecaster. He was an idiot savant and could barely spell his name. His head was extremely large and deformed and his hands almost tiny, but God had given him the gift of music and that alone elevated Larry Powers equal to anyone. Larry died at the age of 25 from an enlarged heart; nothing else could have taken him but having too much heart. The music left my mother one day and she became a stranger. I did not know her or see her again until I was a grown man with a broken family of my own and the music had abandoned me as well and I was dying of an angry heart and heavily medicated with coke-whores and leaches. My blood was being sucked away with all my possessions and I only awaited the end to come with a bullet and no tears. I wrote my goodbyes and it took on the quality a lyric; it’s funny how the mind will bend in those last desperate moments. A melody came to me; a soft haunting melody: Out of the thawing winter earth, the muddy melting snow all but gone Uncurls the first green sprouts that soon will cover the ground. Bugs will crawl in the new grass and birds will feed on the bugs, A cat might wait for their young to fall from the nest on a limb up above. And I would pet the cat; the cat would purr… A little love and tenderness would distract it from the birds. I would sit in my rocking chair and watch the flowers grow From weeds that came up with the grass that I would never mow. I am sorry if I got distracted by something that I thought I would need; Maybe I was just passing time, waiting for the changing seasons. Now Summer has gone, the grass turned brown, the birds have all gone south. The cat and I watch and wait , we know what it is all about. And now I’ll sit in my rocking chair, waiting for the snow That soon will cover the parched brown earth where flowers used to grow. Always before, music was happiness and joy but I discovered it could also take the pain from tears of frustration and the bitterness from anger. Music is oil on troubled waters and salve for the soul.