It was my birthday. The morning started out overcast with a damp coolness in the air that made a light sweater necessary. We had just picked our way through the various canopies, tables and chairs that were being set up for the day’s Farmer’s Market on Main Plaza, on our usual route to the courthouse. I almost hate to say we were jubilant, because a divorce case is not usually a cause for celebration. We had a couple of extra affidavits to file before we could sign off on this particular one and relieve our client of one of the craziest episodes and burdens in his young life. Robert had done a fabulous job researching all the necessary law (and there was lots of it) that applied to the various twists and turns of the whole insane business, and it was a relief to get the whole thing behind us. Sometimes being so intimately acquainted with the turmoil in other people’s lives can make us really grateful for the relative peace in our own.

As I thought about this, a small familiar-looking red car swerved close to the curb where we were waiting to cross, and I recognized my friend Lupo, fellow church musician and also jazz pianist extraordinaire, waving from within. He told us he would be playing in the Plaza later that morning, so we looked forward to finishing up in the courthouse so we could catch some of the music.

About an hour later, we were back out in Main Plaza, listening to smooth jazz coming from the skilled fingers of Lupo and his friend John on saxophone. The intertwining of “Girl From Ipenema” and “Happy Birthday” is not something you hear every day. Throw in some “Basin Street Blues” and we were having ourselves a pretty great time as the nearby fountains sprayed heavenward at various intervals. From the cathedral across the plaza, the bells began tolling loudly and insistently, and our happy concert came to an abrupt halt. I turned to see the long black body of a funeral hearse pull right outside the church doors, just in front of a group of anti-violence advocates/activists from Pax Christi who were quietly holding signs during their morning vigil. The priests were in procession on the church steps, followed by the pall-bearers with the casket. I had to wonder if these two things were related: could this have been a violent death that made an international organization raise its head and take note? The plaza was so peaceful and beautiful and fresh with the roses beginning to bloom around the perimeter and birds singing their mid-morning greetings. The musicians looked at each other knowingly, mumbled a couple of inaudible words, and launched into their next number.

“I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

The tune on the soprano sax could just as well have been Louis Armstrong singing the words himself.

“I see skies of blue, and clouds of white, the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Do you ever have those moments when, even though you are detached from what is happening in your surroundings, you find yourself very much a part of them anyway? Beauty mixed with stark misery. Sadness mixed with pure joy and delight. Protest mixed with celebration. The lives we see day in and day out coming and going from the courthouse.

People’s lives.

Life. What a wonderful world.LupoFriend


  1. Thx 4 including us (lupo and John) in ur big blog summations of that particular day, with the pic. Nice to know, we are loved from afar.


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