It was after school, and our faculty meeting ended early. With computer shut down and bag packed for the evening, I pushed in my chair, zipped up my coat. Then the door opened. “Hey, Lanny.” Sidling into my office came our custodian, Ray. “I hear you’re a keyboard player.” Ray slowly made his way toward my desk, pulled out a chair and plopped down.
“I am,” I responded. How did he hear that? I wondered. I also wondered why he might be taking this time to talk with me, seated in my office. This was a marked departure from our normal interactions, which sparked real intrigue for me.
He cleared his throat. “You interested in an organ? I have a friend looking to get rid of one.” An organ? I thought.
In that moment, I was transported back seventeen years, when I met a singer songwriter named Patrick. We had been introduced by a colleague, a musical colleague who played viola, at her house one night. She’d invited me over, hearing that I play keyboards. Sitting in her house, just inside the door, was a small organ. The three of us jammed that night, finding common chordal ground, inventing songs, improvising together. Three years later, the three of us would record a record, all original songs by Patrick.
I’m honestly not sure I can accommodate an organ in my house. I thanked Ray for the offer, as it sounded like this instrument was in search of a good home. But I am mostly struck by the way music can connect me with people in unique ways…even with the wonderful custodian in my school.