By way of: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Course: 6 – Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Voice Part: Bass
Current Positions: Business Manager
Past Positions: None
Arrangements: None (yet!)
Solos: None (yet!)


Tommy raised his head from his book and looked over the upper brim of his reading glasses. “Yes, Junior?” he replied from his patio chair.

Junior stood up in the garden grass, turning to face Tommy directly. “Dad, how does your garden stay beautiful?”

The question took Tommy by surprise, though his face hardly revealed it. He briefly surveyed Junior’s surroundings: brilliant pink fuschias, deep red roses, and bright blue petunias blossomed among patches of purple lavender and orange tulips. A small plot of grass provided ample space to view the display, from where Junior now gazed expectantly at his father, patiently waiting for his answer.

Tommy looked back at Junior. “Come here, son,” he said, motioning him to a spot on his lap. Junior eagerly climbed up his father’s hickory rocking chair, knocking a pair of dirt-encrusted leather gloves off the chair’s arm as he settled into place.

Tommy pointed up towards the blue sky. “Do you see that bright spot up there?” he asked, beckoning his son to look. Junior turned his head and squinted his eyes, jealous to see what his father found so important. At last, he located it: one spot in the sky brighter than any light he’d ever seen.

“What is it, Dad?” Junior inquired.

“It’s the Gardner, son. The big, bright, and shiny Ben Gardner.”

Junior continued staring in awe. “What does Ben do?” he asked.

“Oh, many things,” Tommy explained. “Shiny Ben shines so bright that he gives all of these flowers enough light to bloom into such intense colors. Shiny Ben gives light to the trees around us, so that when they grow, the logs we cut from them can warm our home. Without Shiny Ben, we would have no light in this world; no one would be able to see without Ben.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Junior, still gazing at Ben’s celestial beauty. “That’s amazing!”

Tommy chuckled. “But there’s so much more, Junior! Shiny Ben has a deep voice that moves the seasons to their proper places. He sings storms into the sea and calm into the air. His music carries the bird in its flight and propels the cheetah in its run. Shiny Ben’s voice makes order where there was once chaos, makes good where there was only evil, makes light where there was once darkness. Without Shiny Be-”

“Dad!” Junior yelled as he yanked his eyes away from the sky. “I can’t see! I think I’ve gone blind!”

Tommy’s countenance changed immediately. His wonder at the world around him quickly became a pair of wide eyes staring at his son, mouth agape. “My Gardner,” he said under his breath, “I didn’t think he would pick my son.”

“What do you mean?” Junior yelled, frantically waving hands in front of his head in a desperate attempt to regain his sight.

“Be joyful, my son,” said Tommy as he softly placed his hand on Junior’s head. He smiled as he looked at Ben, then back at his son. “Shiny Ben has chosen you, Junior, as his own. You must go to him now.”

Tommy stood up from his hickory rocking chair and carried Junior into the grassy opening. Surrounded by flowers, he threw his son into the air. Junior began a slow drift up into the blue sky. A single tear of joy fell down Tommy’s cheek as his son lofted higher and higher, eventually disappearing into the emanating radiance of Shiny Ben Gardner.