This will be a shorter entry, but I'll still fit the theme of the last few days and throw a little fiction your way.

When he was six, Michael could play the guitar as well as his old man. For most boys, this wouldn't be saying much, because guitars are the Budweiser of instruments. Anyone can afford one and figure out what to do with it, and once you learn a few tunes girls think you're better looking than you are.

But Michael's dad played in clubs, not headlining, but picking up regular work for the last ten years, and that's saying something. He used the extra money to buy nicer vacations, a better school district, and a quarter-size guitar his boy could fit his fingers around.

At first, Liz neither encouraged nor discouraged her husband's music, or teaching it to their son. She loved to hear them both play, because it meant they were close. It could have been ballet or boxing, and as long as they came to dinner on time and washed up, she'd be thankful.

That changed when Michael was five. Liz walked past the living room, not looking in, just on her way to the garage, and heard her favorite tune that Gage would play. He'd played it on their first date, and at their wedding, and on a CD he'd made with a local band. She came back with the new bag of cat litter and called out, "Gage, you play that song too long and I won't love it as much."

"Come in here Liz. I've got a surprise for you."

She dropped off the cat litter, walked in, and there was Michael, picking out the chords and walking his fingers up and down the frets better than he walked the stairs. He looked up when she came in, but didn't stop playing.

Gage's eyes were getting wet, and he wasn't a man who cried except at weddings, funerals and their anniversary.

"Miracle. Liz, a damn miracle, our boy. Listen to your son, babe."

Liz listened until the song was over. Michael kept strumming idly, and said "Sunday night is mashed potatoes and gravy."

They laughed, Liz not sure what to think, and Gage saying "Time to put the guitar away, little man. You can play later."

"Okay," he said, and went off to find the cat.