About a year ago I saw this short clip from the then yet to be released documentary, “Alive Inside.” It hit my heart from every angle imaginable, not only because I am constantly amazed by the power of music, but also because it reminded me of the last time I saw my grandpa.
My Grandpa Jack was my last living grandparent. We were very close growing up and even shared the same birthday. I’ll never forget spending Christmas Eves in his small house overflowing with our large family. Or him asking me every time he saw me how many girlfriends I had and never getting tired of me saying something along the lines of “three and a half.” Or playing dominoes with him while he quoted rhymes like “Ol’ Russell, ain’t much good, can’t cut water and won’t haul wood, that makes Russell not much good.” And fishing. And hunting frogs.
The last time I saw him was rough. He had been in a nursing home in San Antonio and was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I was told that his mood and personality would come and go, and I saw a glimpse of that the few days I was there, but the last day I saw him, something made his spirit shine just like it had when he sat on his front porch frying catfish for the family 20 years ago. That something was music. When my parents and I went to visit him that day, I was wearing a pair of my oversized headphones that a lot of people think I wear for a fashion statement or as some sort of branding. Maybe it’s turned into that, but I really started wearing huge studio headphones all the time because I loved being teleported into another dimension in a way that is only possible with music. I decided to let my grandpa try it out, and he was teleported too…to another time. To his youth. I had a small handful of classic country songs that my Texan grandpa grew up on. As my grandpa sat there with the headphones on looking like an older, whiter, Dr. Dre, he came to life. We played each of the 3 or 4 songs 3 or 4 times, and Grandpa glowed with joy.
This is the last memory I get to hold on to of my grandpa, until I get to play dominoes, eat catfish, and listen to music with him in Heaven.
Watch The Short Clip