Soundtrack to the Past

October 30, 2008

I’ve written recently about finding a long-lost friend in an unlikely way, via his son’s photo on a Facebook page. Now comes word that the son — singer, songwriter, and aspiring actor — will soon release his first CD.

His father and I have exchanged emails since making contact in September and pledged to meet at some point soon. His emails took on more vibrancy today when I listened to two of his son’s songs on MySpace. They’re beautiful, conveying range and passion and artistry that remind me of entertainers who achieved stardom.

To my ear, young James’ soaring voice sounds nothing like his father’s, not that I can recall my friend ever singing. There’s certainly no evidence of dad’s touch of Kentucky accent. As I listened, the songs brought to mind — oddly — basketball.

The singing became a soundtrack for dad’s exploits on the court. They spooled from my memory like grainy black-and-white home movies: the quick pull-up jump shot from the top of the key, the fake and drive to the basket, the pinpoint pass to a teammate. Jim was a star on our Winter Park High School team, but always humble, and went on to play at the college level.

From the stands I saw every game our senior year, home and away, and probably lived vicariously through him. I played against him too, in my bumbling way. We had pick up games in my driveway with our friends and my brothers, and I can still see Jim slicing to the basket, trademark determination written on his face.

Reading between the lines of young James’ MySpace profile, there’s a lot of determination behind the CD — from son and parents alike. I hope he scores big.