I have a nephew, C, my brother's son, who I will always picture in my mind as a cute blonde boy who looks exactly like my brother did. So, these days I'm always a little shocked when I see him: he dyed his hair deep black and wears it in spikes, so he looks a lot different. I am sorry to say that I have a hard time getting used to his "new" look, even though it's not so new.
On Sunday, he was at the reunion with my brother, and he started playing the little piano out in the foyer. He was playing his own compositions, jamming on the piano, playing by ear in a kind of a jazz style. Not longer afterward, one of my elderly aunts came in, her daughter pushing her wheelchair. "Who is that?" she called out. "Is that C? I didn't know he was so talented!" She had my cousin push her over while she listened to him play in rapt attention.
We found out that one of my Massachussetts cousin's boys is also musical. He also played a little for us, later on in the afternoon. And my cousin took out his video camera at one point and videotaped my nephew, the one with the spiky black hair, playing and singing an acoustic version of one of his own songs.
In an odd sort of way, this brings me back to my childhood, and one of my uncle's rare visits. At some point we would gather around the piano, and he would entertain us with the many classical pieces that he knew by heart. He always closed the "program" by playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in the style of every famous composer we could think of, from Bach to Gershwin. Everyone in the family was in awe of his musical talent; everyone in the family also developed a love and appreciation for music, just because of my musical uncle.
My uncle became a pastor, not a musician, but I don't remember hearing him preach much. I do remember, however, listening to him talk about Bach and Chopin, Brahms and Schubert and Strauss. Even now, I'm told he knows a lot of music by heart.
So yesterday we were gathered around a piano once again, not listening to Bach, but listening to and admiring the talent of a spiky-haired young man, who sang and played the same instrument as my uncle, but in such a different way. The music gene has somehow been passed along, from one generation to another.
Thank God that we have been given the eyes to see it, the ears to recognize it, and the hearts to receive it.