Well, he did social distance from the other residents in the Memory Care unit. Some of them tried to befriend him, but he didn’t seem to notice them unless they got in his way. He did pay more attention to the nurses and the aides. In fact, he seemed to become attached to some of them.
Before dementia, Jim loved to get together with family and friends for big dinners. Typically, everyone would pull out their musical instruments and have an impromptu jam session.
I never played an instrument and seldom sang, but when I did, I sang with Jim. He could throw in harmony and always made me sound better than I actually was.
A couple of years ago I bought a ukulele just to see if I could learn to play a few tunes. My thoughts were, I’d be serious when I cut off the long nails I’d had my entire life. Well, it wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t ever going to learn how to play until I trimmed the nails on my left hand.
After I learned a few chords, my brother Jimmy encouraged me to join the Capps Family Band for practice. Then, he said I might as well go with them when they played music at the nursing homes. Eventually, he tricked me into singing a song, and the next thing I knew, I was on the schedule.
Now, I realize that with the social distancing, one of the things I miss the most is playing music with the band. I miss our two practice sessions where we figure out what songs will be on the playlist.
I miss seeing the residents’ faces as we perform our program. They really love my 93-year-old mom, who, in turn, loves to sing for the “old folks.” My niece, Amy, is so talented she could sing the phone book and it would be stunning. Of course, last practice she worked on “Goodbye Earl” which is an entirely different kind of song. My sister, Roberta, had “Rocky Top” ready for the next program. Mitchell was going to sing, “My Rifle, My Pony, and Me.” Kathy has a great selection of songs and one she planned on singing was “I Heard it in a Love Song.” Jimmy was going to sing a song he stole from me—“Dream Lover.”
Well, we had to cancel February, and, of course, the March program was cancelled due to COVID-19. It was a good program, and I know that someday we’ll get to see our favorite folks at the nursing homes again.
My brother Jimmy has been picking up his guitar and he or Kathy video a song each day. I decided I wanted to video one of the songs I planned on singing in February—“Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Jimmy makes it look a lot easier than it is.
Jimmy and the band play the music when I sing at nursing homes. If I mess up, it isn’t too noticeable. I like to sing “fun” songs, so it makes my day if I can make the residents smile.
Jimmy likes to say that what I lack in talent, I make up for with courage. Without the audience, without the band, I recorded “Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Most of my home recordings are never, ever going to see the light of day, but I thought this one might make someone smile. If I accomplish that—it will make my day!
Copyright © April 2020 by L.S. Fisher