Friday, February 19, 2010

a Violin, a Canoe, and the Universe

Let's wrap up the week on a nice note, shall we? This is a story (actually two connected stories) from one of my favorite artists, as well as one of my favorite people, Rebecca Zapen. She originally posted it as a note on her Facebook profile but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with others. I asked her if that was cool and she said yes. So here you go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I think you will...

a Violin, a Canoe

Valentine's Day found me with a most unusual gig: to play violin while riding in a canoe on the Hillsborough River, as a Valentine's surprise for a lovely young lady. Following the gig, the Universe had a beautiful surprise in store. I arrived at Wilderness Park Morris Bridge with violin in hand, and wearing my typical classical violinist black attire, drawing looks from the microfleece-clad paddlers. Next to arrive was Kevin, the canoe paddler du jour from Canoe Escape Inc, driving a school bus with a canoe loaded on a trailer. The tricky thing was to bring my violin onto a canoe and feel confident neither violin nor bow would fall overboard. The violin was insured, but the bow (costing about the same amount as the violin) was not; insured or not, you really don't want to fall in a river with your violin on a chilly winter day. Kevin paddled upstream effortlessly for 30-40 minutes. I knew my arms and shoulder were going to be exhausted by the violin playing alone, but I felt way too spoiled just sitting there and being paddled around, so I did pick up a paddle from time to time. We were surrounded by such beauty. After essentially being cooped up for 3 months since Joel's birth, it was amazing to be on this gorgeous river, surrounded by the cypress trees. We saw a few stunning birds, no alligators though. As various paddlers passed us and learned about the surprise (a girl in black with a violin on a canoe kinda stands out on the Hillsborough River), they'd let us know how far back the lovebirds in the blue kayaks were. Kevin tucked us away behind some trees and finally our two Valentine's Day lovers came paddling along. Cue the violin playing "O Mio Babbino Caro". The young lady said to her fellow: Isn't that sweet; she's playing for her boyfriend. The gent said, No, she's playing for us. She didn't believe him, but then she noticed we were following them down the river. Her face registered shock, and then as she realized the music was just for her, she shed a tear and gave her man a kiss. It was very sweet. We followed them down the river for about 30 minutes, with me serenading them on the violin. When we arrived on the shore, there was a little crowd clapping. Our young couple went over to a picnic blanket strewn with rose petals and enjoyed a meal of Chinese food. I was rosining my bow, getting ready to continue playing for them during their meal when I hear the girlfriend exclaim, "Menage a Trois?!". "Menage a Trois, the wine....", the boyfriend offers, knowing I can't help but hear their conversation. I look up and say, He didn't pay me for that!

and the Universe

After the lovely couple had finished their meal and we had said our goodbyes, I made my way back to the parking lot, walking with two older married couples. We were stopped by a man wearing cargo pants, a tee-shirt, and a black sequined bow-tie held to his neck by a piece of elastic. He asked if any of us were a notary. It became clear that he was a groom and this was to be his wedding day, but was lacking an officiant. One of the gentlemen said, You've got two Baptist ministers here. I said, And I've got a violin. We walked over to a tree where the bride and a few friends were gathered, and right then and there a wedding ceremony was assembled. The minister went to his car to get his bible, and I got out my violin once again. The bride had beautiful sky blue eyes and very short silver hair, and carried pretty pink daisies. It was tender watching them exchange their vows, occasionally changing a word here and there in the vows offered by the minister to better address each other. As we were exchanging hugs and thank yous all around, one of the friends told me that this really meant the world, as the bride is very ill and it is uncertain how long she might live. I had known throughout the impromptu ceremony that this was a very magical day, that the coming together of these people, the minister, and myself at exactly the right time had an element of bashert -- it was meant to be. I thought of my tune "Dolores" that day, as I was reminded once again: Every day is a gift.
A video of the wedding from a friend of the bride:

I want to thank Rebecca for letting me share this here. Learn more about her and her music, including upcoming appearances (in canoes or otherwise) at her web site.


Our Vanilla Life said...

Now that gives me hope for mankind!
Thanks for sharing that.

WB Philp said...

All I can say is "Thank you" for this post. There are good people and truly good things happening out there!

WB Philp