Prologue to Shannon
I knew before you were born...that you were going to be special.
Did you know...you were speaking even before leaving the womb? I remember very clearly,
that day, in my memory. Like so many days before, I laid my hand upon the nest where you
lay and played a special melody on a silver whistle. That day, after playing for a little
while, I started to feel a gentle vibration that I hadn't felt before.
I'm afraid I may have caused quite a stir. Having little knowledge of the way of
babies, I thought perhaps you were in trouble; that you may have been harmed by the sound
of my song. I was very insistent that we leave for the doctor's office immediately. The
thought that you were in danger was tearing me apart.
The vibrations coming from inside the body of your mother continued all the way, so I
was quite worried by the time we arrived. The obstetrician, Dr. Pritchett I believe his
name was, soon had you under sonar. There's some kind of long official name for that but
it always looked like the sonar screens of my naval youth, so that's what I called it. It
beeped when it found you.
Dr. Pritchett hmmmed for a long time as he viewed the sonar and moved his hand over
you. Finally, looking up at me, he asked.
"Sir, has the young lady been singing to her child?"
Confused now, but no less worried, I replied, "I play a song to her every day, one
passed down through the generations of my mother's family. Could the sounds of the flute
be detrimental to her growth at this stage?"
Dr. Pritchett suddenly grinned real wide. He clapped me on the shoulder and gave me a
"Well then! You are now officially a duet, because she's singing!"
A tear rolled down my face as I used my hands to feel the music I had taught to you.
"She's going to be a doozy." I grinned. I was the happiest man in the world.
A week later saw me still playing to your singing. I could now begin to feel the melody
in your vibrations and realized you were learning the song. I started to read to you as
well. In fact, I think that I irritated your mother to no end with the way I was doting on
you. She kept saying she couldn't wait for you to be born just so I would leave her alone.
I think she was, in fact, perhaps a little jealous of you, even then.
I, however, was counting the days until you were scheduled for arrival and finally the
day came. The household became a madhouse of confusion as my wife went into labor. It was
completely unexpected. So, I refused to take her to the hospital. I feared that you would
come very soon, and I certainly didn't want you to be born inside of a car. I sent for Dr.
Pritchett immediately, and lay your mother in our bed.
Again, my lack of knowledge was brought clearly to the surface, as you didn't just fall
out, like I had thought. Your mother was still in labor by the time the good doctor
arrived at our mansion, and pronounced that all was well. Luck be with us, the house would
have a child by morning.
At the time he didn't know how true his statement was, for at the stroke of midnight,
you entered the world and my life. Your first breath was not a cry, but a song. My heart
was lifted as my tears fell.
"She's beautiful...", said the live-in wet nurse, as she cleaned you of birth
debris. I certainly wasn't going to refute that statement.
"She's going to be fine.", Dr Pritchett said as he examined my wife.
"The pain killers, she insisted on during the birth, have knocked her out cold, but
she should wake up in good spirits. Especially with such a fine lass as that! So, Mr.
Evans, what are you going to name her?"
I took you into my arms and my breath caught at your perfection. You clutched my finger
in your tiny hand and I noticed that the soft patch of hair at your temple was bright red,
like my own used to be. I named you after my grandmother; a brave lady who came to a new
world to start a new life.
"Her name is Shannon."