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The lady in the middle inched ever so slightly away, freeing silver hair from a leather acoustic guitar strap. Her two fellow performers wore warm smiles, sometimes chattering with the forty or so quiet people in the audience. Most of them were Presbyterian Church Coffee House regulars, long time faces of the community. Tonight, just as all Saturday shows, the faces were drawn and expecting of something that qualified as a night well spent. The three women gathered for a moment. It seemed as though the guitarist had a suggestion, a perfect idea.

            She began to speak.

            “Does anyone remember The Ed Sullivan Show?”

            The audience replied with subtle, collective nods of recognition.

            “I think,” she exclaimed, “it was about fifty years ago that The Beatles were on. Now, who remembers that? I don't know what was more shocking; The Beatles themselves or all of those screaming lunatics - no, sorry - I mean girls.”

            A man seated at the ticket table in the back gave an impressive chuckle of which he was immediately ashamed, attempting to play it off as a very energetic cough. However, what was done was done, and it wasn't long before the whole room was ringing with laughter of all kinds. Even once the initial noise had ebbed away, several in the crowd could still be heard discussing why George was always their favorite and which Beatles song the ladies might perform next. They definitely remembered.

            Without another word of introduction, the woman with a white ponytail began playing the first notes of a familiar song, one that seems to drape the same blanket of memory over everyone who hears it. One might argue that “In My Life” would sound out of place in a room full of silent people, but it appeared that silence had left them forever to be replaced by the signature warmth that comes with contentment of the spirit.

            And then, something even more remarkable happened.

            Everyone was singing. Not a soul in the dimly lit Coffee House was unwilling or too timid to be heard, and, as the song progressed, the audience and performers became one powerful voice singing the same gently powerful song:

“There are places I remember

All my life, though some have changed

Some forever not for better

Some have gone and some remain

All these places had their moments

With lovers and friends

I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living

In my life, I've loved them all”


            Once it was over, amongst the applause remained an air of something unexplainable. Something strong and universal had been felt by everyone, and it lingered within the stone walls of the Presbyterian church. Maybe it had been caused by the crowdedness, the good nature of the performers, or even the lovely way in which the lights made everything glow.

            Or, just maybe, it was music itself. 

Maddie R