As I parked my car a block from home, I was drawn to the sounds of Holy Infancy’s playground, a sound I’m quite familiar with and actually kicks off my Playground CD of several years ago. I walked down the alley and said hello to a couple of the teachers minding their kids. I asked how many days were left for them, now that the old school was about to be abandoned for a smaller, more manageable facility several blocks away. This site was the original Bethlehem Catholic High School, but, with dwindling enrollment, a huge building to maintain.
I have enjoyed my relationship with this neighborhood school, having done songwriting residencies, Christmas shows, afterschool programs and outdoor concerts for the kids and faculty over the last nine years. I never found it necessary to get paid – it’s neighborhood, you know.
The second grade teacher, Paula Gabriel, and I reminisced about our history and she said this was the last full day of school for her class. It popped into my mind, and I said would it be okay to come play for her class this afternoon? She was delighted and said to come back at 1:30.
So, I gathered my guitar and came on back, went down the steps to the classroom in the basement. And away we went. We sang songs, played with rhymes, danced and I took questions from the kids. “How old are you? Are you divorced?” and other curiosities. Mrs. Gabriel joined in the festivities and there was a lot of love going on. It seemed to be the exact right thing to do, spur-of-the-moment.
As I prepared to go, I figured that we should sing the Holy Infancy song that we had written three years ago. I wasn’t sure if I remembered the chords, melody and hand motions, but, amazingly, it all came back within a couple of minutes, with some prompts from the teacher and the kids. A simple song that the kids still remember.
Holy Infancy – is where I want to be,
A community – that believes in me. Holy Infancy, Holy Infancy….
We signed the words in the school’s mission statement: Love, Justice, Peace. And I wrapped up the session with this small slice of time with these kids, their teacher and myself. It was a pretty powerful hour that happened on a whim on a Friday afternoon. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.