Editors' Choice

Flashback

by Jan Burak Schwert

Music makes the world go 'round.

It was time to say goodbye. Our 21-year-old son was leaving for Semester-at-Sea, a journey to third-world countries around the globe. My husband Ron and I flew to the Bahamas to see him off, trading the drizzle of Seattle for a week in the sun.

We took Dan out to breakfast the morning he left. I felt anxious about the trip, even while sharing his excitement, and wanted to distract myself. As we bounced along in our rented jalopy, I tried for the umpteenth time to get the radio working.

Our son’s ship loomed ahead when the radio finally sputtered to life. Elton John’s voice filled the air: “I can see Daniel waving goodbye.”

The moment reminded me of a crisp, fall day twenty years earlier, when Ron and I lived in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Our farmhouse was surrounded by verdant hillsides interrupted by cornfields. The only neighbors were three Holstein cows who would lean over their fence and peer into our sitting room.

That particular day I tore down our driveway, kicking up leaves in my bus-yellow Hornet. The cows glanced up, surprised. I jumped out and sprinted through a curtain of dust, looking for my husband.

Ron had been patching our chimney to keep out flies that would gather behind the bricks at the first sign of frost. His coffee mug had fallen off the ladder, and he’d gone inside for a refill, turning on the radio.

I saw him through a window and raced in to make my announcement.

“Don’t say anything,” he said. “Just listen to the song.” He’d heard the first few notes as I came through the door. It was Anne Murray.

“Life has just begun. Think we’re gonna have a son. He will be as free as a dove, conceived in love....”

I nodded, and tears spilled from my eyes. The following April our son Daniel was born, and years later I learned that the number was called “Danny’s Song.”

Now, hearing “Daniel” on the car radio, I remembered other times music had arrived with a message. As my son reached forward and squeezed my shoulder, I felt sure that whoever had put Dan’s life on a sound track would watch over him and bring him home safely.


Jan Burak Schwert is a freelance writer living in Seattle.


About Editors' Choice:
Every week we choose one of the great stories we've received from travelers around the world and present it here as our "Editors' Choice." For more about the editors, see About Travelers' Tales Staff.




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