He asked if he could do a Sonic Response test. That he does one wherever he goes. Jeff, having never heard of this, said yes, looking around for the equipment and for an explanation as to what it was all about.
The camper – his name is Brian – said he would just show him. He stepped into our campsite, facing the lake and standing tall. I was inside the trailer, unaware of what exactly was taking place, but by now I was also watching.
Brian said: “You take a deep breath. And another deep breath. And then…”
He let out a Tarzan yell, at maximum volume. Stopped, listened for the echo, and smiled. We stood there in disbelief while it slowly dawned on us that Brian was a certain kind of character.
As campsite hosts at Sugar Lake 2 Mile, we meet a variety of people and it’s always for a short time. Short in duration and superficial in quality. We don’t hear backstories. Past getting names, we don’t know who they are, where they came from, and what brought them here. We don’t know if they have children (unless they bring them) or how many times they have been married or for how many years they have been together as a couple (if they are).
But some people truly add something substantial to our lives. This couple – Brian and Annette – is one such example. Brian stopped by a few minutes ago, and let me know they were packing up to leave. I asked when they would be back again, and he said he didn’t know. They may be back again, but maybe not. They like it here but they have no agenda.
I am sad that we may never see them again. While we didn’t learn much else about this pair, we know they are musicians. Amateur, according to Brian, but the perfect kind, in my opinion. Brain told me he has printed out hundreds of songs that they like to play, all in a binder.
One evening, I overheard them playing Seven Spanish Angels, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. Fishin’ in the Dark. Many, many more. I found myself quietly singing along from our own campsite a couple of spots down.
I did tell Brian how much I appreciated being able to overhear their playing, and I briefly mentioned my dad and how he played some of the same songs.
But there are some things I didn’t tell him.
I didn’t tell him that my most frequent and treasured memories of my dad are of him playing and singing. Or that later, my brother and I learned to play and joined in. Or that our sons are musical too. One of my sons, James, now plays guitar on one of my dad’s old guitars and his music also brings a tear to my eye; another, Lane, plays the drums.
I didn’t tell Brian that I knew every single song he played from beginning to end because of my dad’s love of the same songs, and that every single song he played evoked a beautiful memory. He sang my life’s soundtrack this Father’s Day weekend and he didn’t even know it.
I didn’t tell him that I have a binder too, with hundreds of these same songs, and that I can play guitar too, but that I haven’t played since dad’s passing in 2015.
I know you probably won’t see this, Brian, but I sincerely hope we see you and Annette again here at Sugar Lake. And if we do, I promise that I will bring out my guitar and my own binder of music and I will join you at the campfire.