“Connecting with Claire”
by Geoff Cottrill
Yesterday, while I sat in a meeting, on the other side of the country from my family, a funny thing happened to me. What happened was another reminder that music connects us all. It is passed from generation to generation, person to person. The chain goes on forever.
Yes, the industry of music is sick with an incurable disease. It sits in its hospital bed blaming the world for their state of being. They are the old guy in the room just down at the end of the hall. You can hear the grumpy screams coming from the last door on the left…..”where’s my breakfast?” They’ve been groaning so long that the doctors and nurses have stopped listening. With the exception of the occasional music talent show, its family business is nearing bankruptcy while they lie there and complain.
But, this is not what this piece is about. I have already written that piece – several times.
This is about how a text message from your 11 year old daughter can make your day, reconfirming why music is so important in our lives. It is about how something as simple as a song can forever connect you to someone. In this case, it’s my daughter Claire.
A little about Claire (aka “The Bear”). Claire is an 11 year old with the heart and soul of someone who has lived before. She as a keen sense of right and wrong. She feels things deeply in her soul. She is thoughtful, funny, sensitive, and complex all at once. She is 11 in age only – but not in spirit.
Claire likes to explore my music collection. My iTunes has something like 13,000 songs in it. Over the years I have taken advantage of car rides to school and to lacrosse practice, or a trip to the store. I have tried to expose her to some of the artists who have been important in my life. Artists like Radiohead, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Beck, Bill Withers, The Beatles, Clapton, Motown, Pink Floyd, Jack Johnson, Gomez, and a dozen others. One day a few years ago from the backseat she informed me that she was “getting into jazz”. She went on to say something to the effect of “jazz makes me relax…..i really like the way it makes me feel Daddy”. So, this is a little context on Claire and her love for music. She is also the same girl who, on the day of the Jonas Brothers concert and a pre-arranged chance to meet them, looks at me and says, “Daddy, can we hang out at home….i’m not into the Jonas Brothers……they just aren’t that good”. No one was more happy than me to not have to endure a Jonas Brothers show…and have an 11 year old daughter who wanted to hang out with me instead of going to the show.
This is Claire.
About two and a half years ago, as I was kissing her goodnight, she removed her earplugs to say something to me. She said, “Daddy, I really like Beck…..his song e-pro is amazing”. I’d never played it for he. She found it on her on as she sifted through my iTunes folder. She did the same thing with the band Gomez’s song See The World. The same thing happened when she discovered Bob Marley and told me she liked that “song about the little birds”. It made my day.
Ok, back to the story at hand. I was in one of the biggest meetings of my career yesterday. The team I am on flew across the country to present our strategic business plan to our parent company. It was an important meeting. After our presentation ended, I was sitting in the back of the room listening to the next group’s presentation. I snuck a look at my blackberry. Yeah, I know. I should have been paying attention. But, I wasn’t.
I had received a text message from Claire.
Here’s exactly what it said:
“Hey guess what song i LOVE??? Hey jude by the beatles!”
So, as I sat in the room, in the middle of my important meeting, on the other side of the country from my wife, my two beautiful daughters, and my dog Tucker, I get this simple little text from my 11 year old music lover.
I wanted to stand up and scream! I wanted to say, “hey, guess what! My daughter just discovered Hey Jude for the first time!” instead, I typed her a quick response, “YES!!!!!!!!!!”, was my reply.
She hit me back immediately with, “Hah, its like my favorite song!”
I sat there for a few minutes as a proud father. I sat there with a new connection to my daughter….made as I was on the other side of the country…..sitting in a meeting.
And, thanks to the guys from Liverpool……..a lifelong memory that I will forever cherish. Thanks guys. Its safe to say that the torch has been passed and you will be remembered always.
Yes, music can and does do amazing things. I just wish it could be powerful enough to save its industry from itself……while it lies in its hospital bed and blames the world for its woes.
Stay tuned….and, thanks for listening.
PS – here’s a bit of advice I think we could all use right about now…….sing it out loud.
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
To let her into your heart
Then you can start
To make it better.
And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool
Who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder.