I Remember “Danny Boy”

I remember the piano in the patients’ lounge down the hall from Dad’s room.

I remember how I was aimlessly plunking the keys when an old man came in to play.

I remember when, two months earlier, Dad told me he didn’t have much time left.

I remember how he made a point of telling me that there was one particular song he wished to be remembered by.

I remember how he referred to it as my song.

I remember the curiosity of this moment, as he had never so much as hummed a bar of my song in my presence.

I remember how non-musically inclined he was.

I remember how he hardly ever called me “Dan.”

I remember how the news hollowed me with fear.

I remember the new He-Man figure he gave me when I was in the hospital eleven years earlier.

I remember how that piano was a cheering distraction from what was mounting down the hall.

I remember that I was just beginning to figure out how piano playing works.

I remember watching the old man start into a seasoned rendition of a song he knew from memory.

I remember leaving the room before he was done, but I don’t remember why.

I remember that twenty minutes later I was at the foot of Dad’s bed watching him give his last breath.

I remember Dad’s love of all things Irish.

I remember the old man’s pitch-perfect intro.

I remember the uncanny moment and the familiar emerald air.

I remember the gentle cadence.

I remember wondering if the old man had any idea who that song belonged to.

Wayne Thies, March 18, 1945 – April 4, 1995