Kolton: Re-visited

Many may not realize just how pervasive music is with us. If you don’t think so, try thinking of just one of your favourite songs … right now. Can you also remember what you were doing and where you were, when you first heard it? You see, this is true for everyone and it starts early.


How early? Well, this summer I brought our 2 year-old grandson, Kolton, to the New Hamburg library for a program called ‘Splish Splash Music Fun’, one of the many family programs offered at the branch. It was fascinating watching the little ones interact with each other to both music and lyrics under the skilled guidance of our musical leader, Adele. The adults were brought into the fun too, as we held hands walking in a big circle laughing and singing. (And, of course, who could forget singing into the magic microphone!) In the end, it was a great example of the power of music to bring us all together.


They say music is the universal language and so my Mom bought him a toy guitar – which he loves to use – especially when watching music performed on TV.  To engage his passion and have fun too, my wife and I took him to Castle Kilbride’s outdoor Summer Concert Series in Baden. The classic rock band definitely got little Kolton (and all of us) singing and bouncing to the beat.  At the intermission, I introduced him the lead singer Tommy, who seemed to relate to Kolton, clutching his tiny guitar, in a way that made our little toddler beam with joy – music bridging the generations.


And, this past summer, Kolton and I had been splashing around in a Hot Tub – ‘practicing’ for his group swimming lessons, which we started this Fall. After the hot tub, the cold reality of a large public pool was quite a shock for both of us. Fortunately, the encouraging smile, fun songs and water games provided by our swim instructor, Mary Kaye, kept Kolton’s resolve afloat.


I can’t tell you who’s getting the most out of these musical-related arrangements, Kolton or me; but to echo the closing line from the movie Casablanca,” I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”


And yet, who knows what he’ll remember of our time together, many years from now?


 As a young boy, I was enrolled in piano lessons given by a wonderful elderly lady, Mrs. Kirkwood, who was very patient and encouraging. As she made her tea in the kitchen of her grand Victorian home, I sat down at the piano, opened my music book (probably for the first time that week) and struggled through yet another strange tune. I didn’t know what I was playing; but it sure wasn’t ‘For Eloise’. 

Almost immediately, I hear her voice wafting through the corridors, “I don’t think ‘we’ practiced much this week, Freddie?”  Yikes, eight years old and busted again. Talk about ‘learning how to swim’, I surely lacked focus.


She made me realize, though, that I had a God-given talent (Where else would it come from?); and that she was on a buried treasure hunt. Wow, I had talent? ‘Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news’!


Her gift of caring ultimately gave me something of immeasurable worth. During times of celebration and times when I felt I had nothing, I always had my music. In fact, I’ve had a lifetime of precious musical moments – thanks to someone who cared. That’s why I believe there’s a reason and a season why people come into our lives – equally important – why we come into theirs.


“Everything I know … I know only because of love.”    

                                                                  – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace“


My wish for Kolton is for him to always encounter that special kind of teacher … that special kind of person, really, who’s excited about what he can do … filling his cup to overflowing. Music and love will find a way.  

Hey Eloise, this one’s for you!

Fred Parry                                                                                                fredparry.ca  2011

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