A Sad Occasion

Kyle frowned and patted the freshly overturned dirt. He straightened the large rock that was sitting just off to the side. He’d have to come out later with a permanent marker to write the date on it. He sighed and stood up, facing his family who were mostly waiting patiently. Andrew didn’t count, of course.   He was too little and didn’t understand.

Kyle put his hands behind his back and started to pace. Then he pulled out his notes. It had taken him hours to write this. Luckily he’d been able to find lots of examples to borrow from.   “Friends, family, and fellow citizens, we are gathered here together on this sad occasion…”

Natalie interrupted him. “But Kyle, it’s only family here. Are you trying to make this take longer?”

“Natalie,” Mom said. “Just let him finish.”

“As I was saying,” Kyle said. “We are gathered here together on this sad occasion to mourn the passing of our beloved friend and companion, George.”

“You named your violin?” Natalie asked. “That’s kind of weird Kyle.”

“Natalie,” Mom said.

“We could still do Dad’s idea. We can dig it up and set it on fire, like a Viking funeral. Then we could roast marshmallows and hot dogs,” Natalie said.

“Natalie,” Mom said.

“It’s not like Kyle doesn’t already have a new violin,” Natalie said.

“Natalie,” Mom said.

“Don’t listen to her, George,” Kyle said. “You were much better than the new violin. Its tone sounds off.”

“Why are you talking to your violin?” Andrew asked. “I thought it was dead.”

“The tone sounds off because you aren’t tuning it right,” Natalie said.

“Everybody just go away,” Kyle said. “Except Mom. She can stay.”

“Finally,” Natalie said. “It’s not like I wanted to be here in the first place.” She stalked off and slammed the door.

“I’ll go talk to her,” Dad said.

“Can I stay outside and play on the swings?” Andrew asked.

“What do you think, Kyle?” Mom asked.

“Fine,” Kyle said.

Andrew scampered away. He leapt on the swing, arms hanging down on one side and legs on the other. “Whee!” he yelled. The swing gently rocked back and forth.

Kyle looked down at the loose dirt and the rock beside it. “George was a good violin. He was my friend. He was always there when I needed him. I don’t want a new violin. I want George back.” Kyle wiped away a tear and blinked several times.

“I know, dear,” Mom said. “But he was too badly damaged. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it was his time to go.”

“I’m never going to forget him,” Kyle said. “Never ever. There will never be a violin as good as George.”

“Of course not,” Mom said. “Why don’t you finish the funeral? Maybe it will help.”

Kyle finished the funeral. Later he came out with a permanent marker and wrote on the big rock by George’s grave.   It was in a nice sunny spot at the end of the yard. Kyle came out often as the weather warmed up to talk to George and hum their favorite tune.

A few weeks after the funeral, Kyle noticed a tiny shoot coming up out of George’s grave. It grew and stretched out tiny leaves. “Mom, come see,” Kyle said. He dragged his mom out to the grave and pointed at the tall plant. “What is it?” he asked.

“It’s a little maple tree,” Mom said.

“George was made out of maple wood,” Kyle said.

“He was,” Mom said.

Just then, a breeze blew through the yard. The tiny leaves rattled in the wind. Faintly, Kyle could hear the sound of a violin. “Did you hear that?” he asked.

“Hear what?” Mom asked.

“I heard music,” Kyle said. The breeze blew again, and again Kyle heard a violin. “There it was again,” he said.

“Perhaps this little tree is somehow related to George,” Mom said.

“Are you George’s cousin?” Kyle asked the little tree. “Are you like George and you have music inside you that you want to share with the world?” The breeze blew and the music played. “Don’t worry little tree. I’ll keep practicing, and maybe someday you’ll grow up and become a violin like George. We’ll share our music with everyone.”