Son Could Feel His Father Standing Beside Him When The Song Starts Playing.

Story by Bob Perks

It’s simply a moment I will never forget and it took me 53 years to experience it.

My brother and his wife had invited us to attend a concert last Saturday night. Try as we may, we don’t always get to spend time together. It’s not that he’s so far away, it’s simply a matter of scheduling. He’s retired and busier than he was when he was working. That and a thousand other excuses keep us in touch by phone but not in person.

“How’d you like to go to a concert with us?” he called and asked last week.

My mind quickly scanned through all the recent concert announcements I heard for our new arena.

“It couldn’t possibly be Brittany Spears. I don’t think our old hearts could take that,” I thought to myself.

“Tom Jones is coming to the Kirby Center soon. He’s an oldie, but I’d go to see him,” I continued in my head.

“I have tickets to see the Army Field Band and Chorus,” he said.

There was silence.

“Oh…great. When is it?” I replied. This gave me a few extra seconds to think of a reason not to go.

“Next Saturday. I just thought we haven’t seen you guys since Christmas. We could go have a sandwich afterwards,” he said.

He was right. We hadn’t seen each other for some time and time is truly the big issue here. He’s ten years older than I and, you know, life is all so unpredictable.

“Let’s do it!” I said with enthusiasm.

For the next week we moaned and mumbled about the whole thing. We wanted to see them, but we weren’t too crazy about seeing the band.

“You know we’re going to have to leave real early. It’s a thing senior citizens do, you know,” I said jokingly to Marianne.

Sure enough, my brother called the day before and said, “The concert starts at 7:30. The doors open at 6:30 so, if you can be here at my house at 6:00, we’ll leave at 6:10 and get in line.”

When we arrived at the theater at 6:25, the lobby was half filled.

“These people probably got here at noon!” I said. “Look, that guy has his lunch with him.”

Promptly at 6:30 the doors opened. The view in front of me looked like a wave of white and gray pouring into the auditorium.

By 6:35 we were seated. We had 55 minutes to wait, but so did the other 1,397 people who got there too early, too.

Hoping that the show was only about 90 minutes long, we scanned the program to discover there was an intermission.

“We’ll be here all night!” my wife whispered.

With little anticipation or excitement on our part, the show finally began.

We were wrong, so wrong. This concert was excellent. They were the most professional, talented group of musicians I have seen in a long time. They played all of the classic marching band pieces as well as some very well-orchestrated jazz and show tunes. They even did “cartoon music.”

The intermission came all too quickly and the night seemed to fly by.

At the very end of the concert, the conductor announced that they were going to play songs for each of the branches of the U.S. military.

“If you have served your country, we invite you to stand when your song is played,” he said.

After a brief intro the very first song was for the Navy. Since serving in the Navy many years ago, I have never had the opportunity to acknowledge it.

At just the right moment I stood up and there to my left was my brother. I was seated at the very end of the aisle and I swear I could feel my father standing next to me. He served in the Navy and Army.

Glancing off to my left, I could see my brother standing taller than I have seen this arthritis riddled man stand in a long time. He was proud. He should be, but I was even prouder.

You see, I’m not sure how many more chances we’ll have. There have been more times in my life than I can count, that my brother stood by my side, but for the first time, I stood with my brother.

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