An Open Letter to the Ghost Trumpeter

That’s what I call you, the Ghost Trumpeter. From from my house, it sounds like you practice your horn in the cemetery. I have no idea if you are young or old, male or female; I’ve never bothered to investigate. I like not knowing. The disembodied sound of your horn is a small, delicious mystery.

I just wanted to say to you, whoever you are, that you’re good. Maybe you’re a student. Maybe you’re a seasoned musician with gigs around town. Either way, keep it up.

I also wanted to thank you. There is something transportive about sitting outside on a soft Southern evening, with the sun sinking in a sherbet-colored sky, and hearing the clear, distant notes of your horn. It reminds me of New Orleans, where I once lived, and where a part of me still lives and will always live, no matter where I am. New Orleans is the landscape of my soul, a place I return to at night in my dreams, and long for during the day.

photo by E. D. Watson

When I lived in there, I would sit on the splintery wooden landing outside my kitchen to smoke a cigarette and take in the evening sky. Occasionally, I heard someone practicing their saxophone. The notes made a shimmering gold thread in the tapestry of sounds woven by my neighborhood: dishes clattering inside an open kitchen, voices raised in disagreement, the clank and whir of the streetcar, a television, the bang of a screen door. I would sit outside and smoke and listen to these sounds—and the saxophone—and feel very much a part of something, part of a place and culture. I was alone, but not lonely. It was a holy thing.

Your horn makes me feel that way again. What are the odds that a gust of New Orleans could blow so unexpectedly through a quiet Texas suburb, where there’s no Spanish moss or streetcar tracks? Your music is a kind of benediction, reminding me that I am still a part of New Orleans, that it is still a part of me—a vital, living part, like an internal organ.

But it also reminds me that I’m part of what is here, a place with its own kind of magic, a place that is, to my surprise, able to surprise me.

Yours with greatest admiration and respect,

E. D. Watson

One thought on “An Open Letter to the Ghost Trumpeter

  1. She already knows how I feel about her and her writing, but I’ll say it again. I think you have such a beautiful heart and you are so talented!

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