Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bye, Bye, Blackbird...

I wholly grasp the concept that each day is the same length, which means therefore that each week is of equal length.  I grasp it.  I do not necessarily accept it.  This week has been one that has felt as if it has dragged on for interminable amount of time.  We have finally arrived at Saturday, a destination that my little brain tells me feels as if it took forever to get here. 

I am - and I readily acknowledge it - a creature of my environment.  I loathe this time of year.  The steady, relentless descent into darkness is upon us.  Certain sections of the State of Concrete Gardens saw the season's first snow on Thursday night.  Snow in mid-November.  While I suppose it beats the snot out of Hurricanes in late October, which we have also been the recipients of in the not-too-distant past, it is the type of weather-related development that takes the starch right out of me.  Go figure, right?  I seem so naturally sunny and upbeat.

I was in a particularly pissy mood when I finally reached home on Thursday night.  On the heels of an evening commute that was such a royal clusterf*ck that it tripled the length of my normal drive time, I stepped into the kitchen just in time to witness my 82 year-old father-in-law (who has never met a decibel level he cannot exceed) demonstrate his new technique to get Rosalita, our six-year-old miscreant Shetland Sheepdog, to be quieter.  The technique appeared to call for him to shout, "Quiet!" to the top of his considerable lungs while simultaneously, and loudly, banging his walking stick off of any flat surface.  Whether the dog in fact stopped barking or simply was unable to bark at a level capable of being heard above the man-made din I know not.  I know simply that I was not in the mood to hear The Dog Deafener demonstrate his latest technique.  

I expressed my displeasure - likely more loudly and more forcefully than I should have - to my father-in-law and to my wife.  I realized that I might have said too much when I saw the looks on their faces when words finally stopped coming out of the center of mine.  Being my father's son, in lieu of apologizing, I stalked off to another part of the house.  

As luck would have it, Thursday night was a night when one of Margaret's friends popped by on her way home from work to hang with the Missus.  Sometimes there is no corner quite like a neutral corner.  And while I was luxuriating in mine, flipping back and forth between the New York Rangers game and The Big Bang Theory I came across something on the old "Inter Web" that gave me the strength to unwedge my head from my ass.  And to do so with dispatch.  

Ashley Picco was twenty four weeks pregnant with her son, Lennon James, when she died suddenly in her sleep on November 8, 2014.  Doctors at Loma Linda University Hospital in California delivered Lennon James by emergency C-Section.  Her husband Chris, now a young widower, was faced not only with the death of his bride but also with the fact that his newborn son would not survive.  

While carrying Lennon, Ashley Picco observed how much he responded whenever his daddy played his guitar and sang to him.  So, in the final days of baby Lennon's life, Chris Picco played his guitar and sang for his son as little Lennon fought to live, which fight he lost on November 11, 2014.  This family's story is a remarkable one.   

And if this does not break your heart at least a little, then upon your arrival in the Emerald City be certain to ask the Wizard to fit you for one.  I watched it for the first time Thursday night - as I was stewing in my own juices over the day that I had endured.  It brought my self-pity party to an abrupt end.  It also allowed me - in less than three minutes - to bear witness to as incredible a feat of strength as I have ever seen.   

I do not have the steel in my spine to walk a mile in Chris Picco's shoes.  But seeing him do what he is doing to cover the ground in them himself served as a reminder to me that it is important to keep straight those things that actually matter as opposed to those that are merely white noise...

...and that the sound of a blackbird singing in the dead of night is most certainly the former. 

-AK 


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