When I was younger I used to go to gospel concerts and fall in love with the sound of the drums. The drums were always so powerful and gave the gospel songs rhythm, character and an up-beat tempo to dance to. I loved watching the drummers get carried away in the music by banging the drum set so fast and effortlessly. I wanted to learn how to play the drums but my parents didn’t have the money to pay for drumming lessons so instead a man named Charlie gave me drumsticks and a drumming book to teach myself.
Charlie was the choir director at my cousin’s church. When he was younger he taught himself how to play the drums, piano and guitar. Not only did he play instruments but he could also sing so beautifully and write music. He was extremely musically talented and I was amazed by him. Whenever I’d see Charlie I would ask him to teach me how to play the drums but he would never have time. Finally after a year of begging, Charlie got really tired of saying no. He told me with dedication, patience and faith I could teach myself how to play the drums just like he did.
I started reading the book and air drumming right away. I went from being ready to learn and teaching myself every day to becoming frustrated, bored and not wanting to teach myself at all over a three week span. I ended up losing my drumsticks and avoiding Charlie every time I went to my cousin’s church. I didn’t want to be a disappointment to him and I couldn’t face the fact that I really lost the drumsticks.
A couple of years later I found the drumming book in the back of my closet doing a great job at collecting dust. I opened it and started flipping through the pages when a small folded paper fell out. I unfolded the paper and it read “I know you will get tired and bored but don’t give up. You can do anything you put your mind to. I believe in you. Charlie.” I felt so stupid and mad at myself for not seeing this letter before and for avoiding Charlie. I wondered if I just told Charlie I lost the drumsticks and wanted help what would have happened…
After getting so frustrated and bored with trying to teach myself how to drum, I ended up losing my drumsticks. Weeks passed by and I ended up forgetting and caring that I lost it until my cousin invited me to go to a gospel concert at her church. The first person who came to mind was Charlie. I know he’s going to be there drumming away and he’s definitely going to ask me how drumming is going. As much as I loved going to gospel concerts, I lied to my cousin and told her I couldn’t go. I didn’t want to face Charlie and be reminded that I’m a quitter.
The Gospel concert was a week-long event and of course my cousin asked me every day if I wanted to go. By the fourth night, I was running out of lies and decided to face my fear. I went to the gospel concert and saw Charlie drumming away. He was amazing. I fell in love with the drums all over again and a sense of regret grew over me as I thought about losing the drumsticks and giving up.
After the concert Charlie came up to me.
“How’s the drumming going Kimberly?” I swallow my spit and look down. I was too ashamed to look at him.
“I lost the drumsticks and quit drumming. I don’t know how you were able to do it Charlie. I just don’t have the patience or mindset. I think I’m meant to sit and listen to drummers. I think that my calling is to admire from afar.”
Charlie busted out laughing.
“Your calling Kimberly? That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard! Just because you hit a little bump in the road you’re just going to quit?”
Oh goodness here come the speech.
“Why sit and watch when you can actually do it? If you needed help you could have just asked me. That day when I gave you the drumsticks you were so excited and ready to drum. You just gotta keep at it kiddo. Nothing in life is easy. I could have bought you a new pair of drumsticks if you told me.”
Charlie was right. I should have just told him. I felt so stupid for thinking he would have been mad at me. He actually cares.
“I expected more from you Kimberly. Didn’t you get my note?”
“What note?” I managed to say.
“I left a … Wait do you still have the drumming book or did you lose that too?”
“No, I still have it”
“Well, here.” Charlie takes his drumsticks from the back of his pocket and hands them to me. “When you get home open the book and start practicing again. One day you’ll understand what I’m talking about.”
I smiled at him and took the drumsticks.
“Next time I see you, I expect a solo” he said with a smile then walks away.
When I arrived home I opened the book and started flipping through the pages. A folded piece of paper falls out. I open it and it read,
“I know you will get tired and bored but don’t give up. You can do anything you put your mind to. I believe in you. Charlie.”
After reading that note, the first thing that popped in my head was “I can’t let Charlie down”. I came up with a drumming schedule where I practiced four times a week and I made a nice place for my drumsticks near my bed. Over the years, I became a master drummer and joined my church music team. Now, Charlie sits and watch me drum away.