Well, we're up in Fort Collins! Haha this was no where in our plans, but sometimes you have to ride along with wherever the wind takes you. This morning, we woke up, and Skyler asked Nolan and I what we were going to do today. I told him that I may as well head home for the rest of the week. Seeing as there was not anything else to do in Denver, my plan was to go back home. Skyler then asked if I wanted to come with him and Nolan to Fort Collins. I told him "thank you, but I don't want to inconvenience who you are staying with, and it is last minute." It was then that he held up Chris's key, and said, "David, we're just staying at Chris's place in Fort Collins that he gave me the key to last night." I looked at my cell phone, and I looked at my sleeping bag. I looked back up at Skyler, shrugged my shoulders, and said "[Forget] it, we're on tour. Let's do it." So we all decided to head up to Fort Collins and find some open mics. We thanked the people that hosted us the past two nights, stopped by Chipotle, and then started our journey to Fort Collins. The snowstorm was so treacherous, that it took us almost two and a half hours to get up there. By mid afternoon, we made it up to Chris's house in Fort Collins. We went in the house, and man, it was pretty nice! It was a basement/two bedroom/ college student type flat. We brought our belongings in, made some soup, and turned on some Netflix. After deciding that we all wanted to do an open mic that night, Skyler found a venue by the name of Mulligans Pub in Fort Collins. At about 6:30ish, we headed out to Mulligans. When we got there, it was COMPLETELY empty. There was one guy with a guitar, and one guy in the audience. Man, the atmosphere was dead, and nobody was there. I thought to myself, "Well, this is stupid. I don't even want to play here. Let's just go back home." But we stayed and played. The man with the guitar (who happened to also be running the open mic) played first, followed by a man from overseas who read poetry, followed by Nolan, and then Skyler, myself, and our friends Ben and Lance. Throuhout our open mic set, the audience stayed low. It was only two people, and then this old couple walked in too. When I went up to play, I couldn't even work the sustain to the keyboard properly. I know, you just step on it, but for some reason, it just was not working tonight. Then Ben played, and then Lance played. They both have amazing voices, and amazing guitar skills. After they finished playing, I was ready to go. The audience looked ready, too. There was just one man left, and then the old quiet couple. As we were packing up to leave, Skyler and I courteously asked the old man if he was wanting to play anything before everybody closed up for the night. He was quiet, as I assumed he would be, and I was pretty much ready to go. Skyler then asked him again, and the older man said, "Sure, could I.. [as he looked towards me]....could I borrow your keyboard, young man?" In my head, I was like, "yeah! I would happy too. Buutt.....let's make this quick." Skyler and I went up to the stage with the keyboard, and set it up for the gentleman. What happened next, could not have been recreated anywhere except for a movie, or a dream. He sat on the stool, placed his hands on the piano, and looked up at us (who were now sitting in the audience). Never looking down at his fingers, this man played improvisational jazz tunes with lightspeed-fingers. I have seen few pianists' finger's move faster than his. He played a mash-up of popular jazz pieces, and popular Christmas tunes. As the minutes went by, he held eye contact with each of us, and proceeded to play his heart out on this piano. Everybody was . . . floored. As he played, his wife kept walking around the bar, looking uninterested. I thought to myself, "Wow, her husband's playing piano, and she does not even care to sit down and listen." But he kept playing. He then leaned into the microphone and asked us all, "What songs do you all know? You guys sing and I'll accompany you." Nolan went up to the stage, and played "Georgia on my Mind", while the elderly man played along with his improvisational style. I then went up to the stage and sang "The Christmas Song" while he accompanied me on piano. With every repeat, and every run, he would follow me on piano. It was almost as if he had played piano alongside of my voice thousands of times before. How magical. Then I saw his wife again. This time, she was making her way up to the stage near him. She started to grab the microphone from him, and push it and pull it. I thought to myself, "What is she doing!?" It was then that I truly realized what was going on. Lance said to all of us guys, "Now that....that is a beautiful display of true love."
She was senile
But the elderly man treated her as if she was just like everybody else. He told us that him and his wife go to retirement homes to play music for the residents, while his wife walks around and "makes new friends" as he put it. He proceeded to play, as she stood on the stage next to him, confusedly rubbing her cheeks and licking her lips. It was the saddest, and the sweetest, relationship that I had ever witnessed. I was not able to get much from this man, but I did gather that his name was Jim. Jim, is a beautiful soul, an amazing musician, and a truly amazing husband.
As I was singing "The Christmas Song", and man that looked to be in his mid-50s walked in. When I went to sit down, he came up to me, and showed me a picture of his girlfriend who had been missing for the past couple of months. She had run away from the halfway house. He asked me if I had seen her, and I told him that I was sorry, but I had not. We then got to talking about life, and family. His sister, as he told me, used to be strung out on a couple of bad drugs. Her life was not going in a great direction, and she was spiraling downwards. But then one day, she found God. Now, her life is completely turned around, and the only high she gets, is the high from the Holy Spirit, at church. She calls the rest of her family to tell them about Jesus, and to tell them about what God has done. Oh, it was so beautiful. Then David (this was his name, too) began to tell me that he had been in and out of jail throughout his lifetime. During one of his times in jail, he said that his cell mate told David that every morning, he says, "Thank you God for my eyes, my ears, my nose, and sense of touch. Thank you for the body you have given me." After hearing this, David began to say this every morning. This is now how he starts his day.
Before the night unfolded, I wondered why I was there. I learned that sometimes.....you just have to understand that everything happens to for a reason. Tonight, was a pretty amazing night.