This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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The characters from the story Substitute Dad featured in this chapter appear with the permission of Scribe1971. The camping trip referenced in this chapter was documented in chapter 58 of that story. Substitute Dad is hosted on Ted Louis' site as well as the Storylover's site at http://storylover.us/Main_Site.php.

After The Game

© 2011 Felix_P

Chapter Seventy-nine

Sean and Jake had just come in the door from taking Barney on his walk and once again they had another adventure with the little white 'fluff ball'. He felt it was not only his duty to protect us by barking from the house at the activity on the sidewalk, but also when we took him on a walk.

"This lady was jogging and she stopped to pet Barney," Sean said.

When Jake finally got his leash off, he added, "She said he was cute and when she started to bend down and reach for him, he jumped up and grabbed a hold of her sweatshirt sleeve."

"And then she lifted her arm and Barney was still attached," Sean said, giving Barney a stern look.

Barney tilted his head and looked at us as we were trying to impress upon him that his behaviour was not measuring up to our expectations. His only concern was when he would get his treat.

"Al, we have to do something about Barney," Dana said, with a look of exasperation. "We have to take him to that dog training school that your former student owns."

"I liked my student. I couldn't do that to her," I said, with a big smile, trying to lighten up the situation.

I knew we had to do something to reign in Barney and Dana's look in response to my comment told me that my options were limited.

"Alright, alright. I'll call first thing tomorrow."

Both Sean and Jake went to the dog training classes over the course of the next few weeks with Barney, as he was their pet and they were the main reason we had a dog in the first place. Even the trainers at the school had a challenge with Barney as he was consistent with his bad behaviour and both boys were embarrassed that they were constantly centered out because of it.

"All he wanted to do was attack this Boxer puppy," Sean said, glaring at Barney after one of the classes.

"That and bark," Jake said, with disgust.

Dana and I went early on the last night of the classes to pick up the boys and Barney. It was the celebration for all the dogs and their owners. When we arrived, Barney, Sean and Jake were at the back of the room near some of the dogs and it appeared that Barney was behaving. The little boxer puppy was at the opposite end of the room with a bunch of other dogs and owners.

"Hello, Mr. Burger. I'm glad to say that Barney has ceased some of his bad behaviour and he's been given a social promotion," my former student, who was the head trainer, said.

She suggested that we not enroll him in the next class until the following year, so that we could 'work on his training' as she put it. She told us it was more difficult to train a dog that was Barney's age, especially one that was as smart as he was. She was being kind and it wasn't hard to read between the lines about what she meant.

"He was better tonight. He just growled at the Boxer puppy and didn't try to attack," Sean said, on our way home.

"And he actually walked beside us instead of tugging at his leash and running ahead," Jake added.

Despite all his bad behaviour, he was very attached to us and he missed Sean and Jake when they were in Algonquin Park with Tom Davis and Josh Chambers on a camping trip over the Thanksgiving weekend. He kept walking into their rooms looking for them and then coming to us and tilting his head as if to ask where they were.

Glen wasn't able to go with the boys, as that was the weekend that we were moving Garth and Glen into their new home. It didn't take too long and between Dana's RDX and the LX we had everything packed. John and Susan had a moving van rented to move the furniture from John and Susan's apartments and the new furnishings that they had bought had been delivered over the week by the various stores. It was a little sad as we had become very fond of the two of them and were going to miss having them living with us.

The adults were looking forward to the boys' reactions as they saw the surprises that were in store for them in their new home.

"Wait for Dana, boys and we'll all go up together," I said, as we had armfuls of clothing and were making our way to the door to the Loft.

When we got to the top of the stairs the two of them were preoccupied looking at the Great room/Kitchen/Dining room combination that comprised the main living space. It was a very open space with the ten foot ceilings and exposed duct work, but it was very well decorated and laid out. There was lots of natural light with the large windows and despite the openness, the Great room area was cosy and had electronic blackout blinds to make it easier to watch TV and relax.

"Looks pretty good, doesn't it boys," John said.

Dana and I hadn't seen the finished Kitchen because it was the last thing to go in and it was impressive. The stainless steel vent hood and appliances looked great with the granite counter tops and dark cabinets. The restaurant grade six burner gas stove with double ovens was John's pride and joy and was similar to the one downstairs in the catering kitchen.

"I think I'll be able to make a great grilled cheese for someone," John said, as he looked at Garth with a big smile.

Glen and Garth made a beeline for the 60" flat screen TV that was hooked up to a surround sound system and turned it on. They noticed the Nintendo Wii game system and wanted to play one of the games.

"Boys, let's get everything unpacked before you two start in on the that," John said.

"You haven't seen your rooms yet," Susan said, with a big smile.

They finally tore themselves away and made their way down the hallway to the bedroom area. Garth's room was first and when he walked in he stopped dead in his tracks in the doorway.

"That's a pretty big Pooh Bear, eh Garthy," Glen said, as he put his arm around him.

Glen had painted a very large mural on one of Garth's walls of Pooh Bear and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Garth's favourite hockey team. On the left side of the mural he had painted Pooh and Eeyore which blended into the right side which had a large Leafs logo and hockey player in a Leafs uniform. He had also signed and dated it, which was something he now did with all his artwork. Garth was speechless, which was a rarity.

"Well, do you like it?" Dana asked.

Finally Garth recovered and said, "Yeaah. It's great." Then he turned to hug Glen, who was beaming and said, "Thank you."

John and Susan then showed them the finished bathroom that the boys would share, with a door from each of their rooms. It had double sinks and a very large glass shower.

Then it was Glen's turn for his surprise. As he started down the hall to his room he stopped outside the Den as he noticed that there was a change in his original plan. He walked in and like Garth stopped abruptly.

"So this is why you haven't been able to come up here the last three weeks," John said.

The Den had been doubled in size and along with a sitting area with another flat screen TV, which was in the original plan, there was a studio area for Glen that had a large drafting/drawing table, easel and computer station with a Plotter to print out large scale drawings. Dana had stocked the storage cupboard with most of the art supplies he would need for his paintings and drawings.

"We downsized the storage area, because this was more important, Son," John said, as he put his arm around Glen.

As was his nature, Glen didn't say too much, but his reciprocal hugs he gave John and Susan spoke volumes about how appreciative he was.

After everything was moved in, we stayed and had pizzas and a nice Greek salad that Dana had made. We broke open a bottle of an Italian Amarone that we brought for the occasion for the adults and eventually left the family in the early evening.

"I can't thank you enough, Al and Dana, for all you've done for us," John said, as we were walking to the door.

Garth and Glen then stepped forward and gave Dana and me big hugs.

"I think that's all the thanks we need," I said.

When we got home, Barney greeted us with his usual enthusiasm, but it seemed a little empty without any of the boys around, as Jake and Sean would be arriving home the next day.

"It's so quiet in here without all the boys," Dana said.

"Maybe that's not such a bad thing," I said, as I took her hand and gave her a big smile.

"Mr. Burger, you're naughty," she said, as she gave me a big kiss and we made our way to the bedroom.

The next day we went to pick up Sean and Jake. Glen and Garth went with us, as Tom was taking all the boys up in his new Cessna at the Brampton airport. Glen also brought a package along that looked like a framed picture.

"It's something for Tom," he said.

It certainly was, as he had done an amazing painting for Tom based on a picture Josh had given him when they had arrived to pick up Jake and Sean at the beginning of the weekend.

"You're a very talented young man, Glen," Dana said, as she gave him a big hug as we dropped Garth and Glen at the loft afterwards.

Barney was very glad to see Sean and Jake come through the door and his tail was wagging so hard I thought he was going to take off into the air like a helicopter.

"So, was it boring around here without us?" Sean asked.

"We kept ourselves busy," I said, as Dana and I exchanged big smiles.

There was a pause and when they realized what we meant Jake said, "Too much information," as both boys frowned.

Dana and I were pleased at how much all the boys were maturing. We had some doubts about how successful Rickie, Glen, Sean and Jake would be coaching Garth's hockey team and it wasn't so much about wins and losses, but more the leadership and people skills that were necessary to guide a bunch of 9 year old kids. The boys laid that to rest very quickly into the season. Rickie was very organized developing practice plans with the other three boys' input and delegating responsibility. They had a good rapport with the players and understood that the main goals of the season were having fun and developing teamwork and individual skills.

"That was a very well run practice you boys had today," I said, one evening after one of the practices that I decided to stay and watch.

"We had a great teacher," Sean said, with a big smile.

The practice was fast paced and had everyone equally involved. After the first five minutes of skating drills, where all the players participated including the goalies, they broke up into smaller groups and each of the coaches worked on set drills that emphasized skill development. Jake took the two boys that were the main goalies, while Glen took the defencemen. Sean took a group of forwards, working on passing and stick handling, while Rickie concentrated on shooting with his group. The last part of the practice was on team play drills and then they had competitions to end the session that were fun.

"I thought you said that you were a better skater than Mandy, Webster. She smoked you in that last race," Rickie said to Garth as they made their way to the dressing room.

"That wasn't fair. Mandy took figure skating two years ago," Garth replied.

Mandy wasn't the only girl on the team, as her friend Charisse also decided to play hockey with the boys. Both of them were good skaters and they were getting better at the hockey skills and were certainly not the weakest players.

The team had lost their first three games, but they were having fun and were playing hard. Even Ronan, Garth's nemesis from T-ball, was enjoying himself, despite the lack of team success. He was the best player on the team and I was a little worried that he might be difficult for the boys to handle with his blunt nature, but they seemed to have gained his confidence with their knowledge of the game.

Garth was also growing up and he suggested that all the kids have a turn at being captain when Rickie had suggested that they vote to see who the kids wanted to represent them on the ice.

"That way everybody gets to be the leader," he said, with that enthusiasm he always had when he came up with what he thought was a good idea.

"So does that mean even the girls get a chance," Glen said to Garth, with tongue-in-cheek. Garth responded with his tongue... but it was sticking out of his mouth at Glen.

Sean, Jake, Dana and I were missing having Glen and Garth around all the time, but we were not missing Garth's jokes. However, we were missing his delight at telling them and he didn't disappoint us most days when he came to our house after school.

"Where do pencils come from?" he asked, with his usual smile and giggle, as he came in the door one day from the school bus.

I gave him some silly answers, which amplified the giggling.

"They come from pencil vania," he said. Of course Dana and I groaned.

"I made that up," he added, with a proud smile.

"Let me guess; you had a geography lesson about the United States today," Dana said, as we chuckled.

Along with coaching Garth and Derek's team the other boys were very busy playing on the Midget division house league team that I was coaching with Mark Depew and Rickie. We had played a couple of games with some success and they were a good group to work with, especially with the addition of Stéphane. I had also looked forward to having the chance to work with Carson to channel his considerable talent into a productive playing style, but he hadn't been out while he was going through treatment.

"Carson said he's not going to play hockey this year," Sean said one day when I picked them up to go to a practice we had scheduled after school.

"He said he didn't think he'd be any good," Jake added.

I knew that this wasn't the Carson that I knew and I assured the boys that I would do whatever I could to get him back out and playing on the team.

"He's more settled after the sessions he's had with the Psychiatrist", Doreen said to Dana on the phone that night after we got home, "but he's still lacking a lot of confidence that the old Carson had."

She told us that the divorce proceedings were coming to a conclusion and Carson was coming to terms with that and seemed more comfortable with the arrangements that had been worked out. His father had limited visitation rights, as Doreen got sole custody. Carson was Ok with this arrangement as we guessed that some of the areas that the Psychiatrist had explored with him no doubt revolved around the abusive relationship with his father.

"Let's just say that he sees things a little more clearly now," Doreen added.

I got on the phone after Dana had finished and talked to Doreen about getting Carson to come out to play hockey. She said that the Psychiatrist was encouraging him to get back to his normal activities, but he was still concerned about the reaction from people as to his actions. He felt a lot of shame about what he had done, which was holding back his recovery.

"I've been talking to him all week about this. He's embarrassed and thinks the boys on the team would shun him. It was all I could do to get him back to school, but your boys and their friends have been wonderful and have made him feel comfortable."

I asked her if I could talk to him to see if I could persuade him to come out. She thought that was a great idea and went to get him.

"Carson, when I drafted you for the team we were all counting on you to be one of our best players. I want you to know that all the boys miss having you on the team and no-one thinks any less of you because of what happened."

There was a pause on the other end as he contemplated his answer to my request to come out to the next practice. He told me the same things he had told the boys and then finally he said that he wanted to think about it.

"Take your time, but I want you to know that everyone, all the coaches and players, want you on the team."

I was at least encouraged that he didn't say no, so I was hopeful.

"We'll keep talking to him at school," Sean said, after I told the boys the gist of the conversation with him.

As well as the boys' interest in hockey, which took a lot of their time, they were also involved in the Arts. We had a very musical Sunday as the Junior Choir was singing at the morning traditional service and in the evening the Youth Choir was putting on their first performance of the season, even though it was in the middle of November. Erin Brady had been working hard with both groups and we were looking forward to hearing the boys sing. Garth and Derek were both in the Junior Choir and they had been practicing hard for the performance. John, Susan and Glen came into the foyer as we were just about to go find our seats in the pews.

"I think Derek is downstairs warming up, Garth," Dana said.

Garth was nervous and we figured that he was going to be singing by himself at some point.

"He's more animated than usual," Susan said, after he took off to get ready.

"He's been driving us crazy this morning as he got ready," John said, with a big smile.

The full Junior Choir did a great job on the two songs they sang at the beginning of the service, which were 'Lord of the Dance' and 'Abide With Me'. Derek and Garth were very animated as they sang in the back row. Mandy was also in the choir and she was in the front with the shorter kids and took a small solo part in 'Lord of the Dance' as did her girl friend, Charisse, who was beside her.

After the sermon, the Junior Choir got up to finish off their part of the service. Garth and Derek moved to join Mandy in the front of the choir and the organist moved to accompany them on the organ this time, rather than the piano. The first song was 'Prayer' which was performed by a boys' choir from Britain called Libera. After the organist played the introduction, the three of them started singing. They took the first verse by themselves, singing in harmony and then the rest of the choir joined them to finish the song.

"I can't believe that's my son singing up there," Janet said, after they had finished.

She was very happy at the friendship Garth and Derek had formed, as Garth was bringing Derek out of his shell. She said that without Garth's urging, Derek would never have had enough nerve to sing in public.

"Especially after Ronan and his friends teased Derek and Garth about being sissies because they were going to sing in choir gowns," Janet added.

"I'm glad they didn't listen," Dana said.

"Well it took some parental psychology to get Derek over that little problem," Janet replied.

We thought the choir was finished, but they stayed put and Garth stepped forward to the microphone. Erin announced the next song, a very familiar tune made famous by Josh Grogan, 'You Raise Me Up' and that Garth was the major soloist.

"I didn't realize he was singing a solo by himself. He didn't tell us that little detail," Susan said, as she leaned over to talk to us.

"He couldn't remember the name of the song this morning and his description was certainly interesting." John said, with a big smile. "He told us it was something about flying and mountains."

"Since the title is part of the lyrics, I hope he remembers the words," Dana said.

Erin then took over at the piano as the organist started into the introduction. Garth gave us a big grin before he started to sing. In typical Garth fashion he decided to put his own 'spin' on the song with a stylized version of the first two lines.

"I wonder if Erin's happy with Garth's impromptu arrangement," Dana leaned over and whispered.

We were all surprised at how pure his young soprano voice was and how he reached the higher notes with little effort and in tune. Even though some of his phrasing could've used a little work, it was an exceptional effort for a nine year old. What was also remarkable was his calmness and composure, given his nervousness before the service.

It was a two Kleenex service for Dana, as she was once again overcome with emotion. She was getting smarter and she omitted her eye liner when any of the boys were performing.

"I think he was higher than the sopranos in the choir," I said, as we all chuckled after he had finished.

Needless to say, he got lots of positive feedback after the service from his family, Reverend McLaughlin and also Erin, as did Derek and Mandy.

"My little stars were great this morning. You know, the Youth Choir accepts children as young as ten years old," Erin said, with a big smile.

John and Susan were beaming and happy at Garth's performance, as was Glen, who even allowed the family to take pictures of him with Garth, which was unusual. He didn't like having his picture taken and he usually had to be cajoled into posing. Mandy, Garth and Derek were revelling in the attention that we were all giving them, which was well deserved.

"I don't know where you get your talent from, son, but it's certainly not me. We're so proud of you," John said, as he wrapped Garth in a very big hug.

We had everyone back to our place for lunch and they left in the early afternoon. Sean and Jake did some homework and were playing on the Nintendo for the rest of the afternoon and we had an early dinner so they wouldn't have a lot in their stomachs to interfere with their singing that evening.

Both Jake and Sean were a little nervous as they got ready for the evening performance, which was to be in the main concert hall in the city. There were about a thousand tickets sold and there was a recording being made of the performance for people to buy. We really didn't have any sense of what the program was going to be.

"It's a bunch of songs," Sean said, when we asked for some more information.

"Well, that's quite descriptive. Are there any featured performers?" Dana asked, probing for more detail.

"Maybe," Jake added, with a sly smile.

We had a sense that both Jake and Sean were going to have some featured parts, as they were both nervous, Sean more so. They had also been practicing in the studio most of the week without the door open, which was another clue. As we got closer to the time to leave for the performance, Sean became increasingly agitated and was in quite a flap.

"Calm down, son. Mom will iron your shirt again, even though there isn't anything wrong with it now."

Jake was chattier than he usually was, which was the way he showed his nervousness. About fifteen minutes before we left they went down to the studio to warm up their voices. We heard them upstairs, as they didn't close the door this time and they had an interesting warm-up routine.

"How come you boys started singing really high notes in a falsetto first, then kept going down the scale from there?" I asked when they came upstairs.

"That's how Mrs. Brady showed us to warm-up," Sean said.

"It's easier to get to the high notes," Jake added.

"It's obvious you two boys are tenors," Dana said, with a smile.

Finally the two of them were ready and they were dressed in black dress pants and white shirts. Sean had insisted on getting shirts with French cuffs, so the two of them could wear cufflinks. They also had black ties with the Youth Choir's logo, which was the standard dress for their performances.

I remarked at how handsome they looked and Sean said, "It's a lot better than those geeky choir gowns we had to wear in the Junior Choir."

"I'm sure this is the way Domingo and Björling started out," Dana said, with a big smile as she straightened Jake's tie.

Sean was also taking his acoustic and electric guitars with him, but neither of the boys were forthcoming about any details.

"Sean's going to 'jam' with the orchestra," Jake said, as the two boys smiled at each other.

When we arrived, we left them as they went backstage and we went to our seats. Shortly after we sat down, Susan, John, Glen and Garth joined us and after that the Morgans and Melissa, as well as Mark Depew, his girlfriend, Sandy Chen and Ronald. My niece and her husband arrived some time later, with Derek and Rachel.

Stéphane's parents, Dénis and his wife, as well as Stéphane's girlfriend, Alysse, were also joining us. Stéphane had been in the choir a few years before, but he quit when Rep hockey took so much of his time. Now that he was playing house league hockey, he decided to rejoin when he found out the rest of the 'band' members were joining as well.

"Were Sean and Jake really nervous about their individual solos tonight?" Glen asked.

"Individual Solos?" Dana and I asked in unison.

"They're both singing a song by themselves," Glen added.

We hadn't expected this much of a featured performance and now we were intrigued to see how the evening unfolded. Before we could ask for more information the house lights dimmed and Erin came on the stage with the choir. The city Youth Orchestra, which consisted of 35 members ranging from 12 - 16 years old, were already in their places in the orchestra pit.

The program had a lot of variety which showcased the Youth Orchestra as well as The Youth Choir. The choral part of the evening had something for everyone from Mozart's 'Ave Verum' to 'Day By Day', from Godspell. They also did a variation on a classic show tune, 'Oklahama', which was changed to 'Manitoba' as a tongue-in-cheek attempt to 'Canadianize' the program.

Charles and Stéphane were featured on the song 'Day-By-Day' with another girl and were very good. It was interesting to hear Charles sing, as he never got the chance when he was playing the drums in the 'band'. He had a very pleasant tenor voice and looked very relaxed as he performed. He was turning out to be a very good looking boy, with his bright red hair, which he was letting grow a little longer. He had also developed a lot of confidence now that he was away from his mother and Mark was raising him.

Stéphane took one of the leads on the song 'Manitoba' with another girl, which was well received by the audience. Stéphane's voice was deeper than the other boys and he was definitely a baritone and like everything else he did, he was an excellent singer with very good stage presence.

It was a very entertaining evening listening to the young talent in the choir and orchestra. After a rousing version of Mozart's 'Ave Verum', Erin came to the microphone to announce the next number.

"We have two of our first year members that are going to sing solos tonight as we wrap up our program. First up is Sean Burger, singing an old Irish folk song, 'Come By The Hills'."

Sean stepped forward and took the handheld microphone and Jake went down to the orchestra pit and picked up Sean's acoustic guitar. The youth orchestra conductor cued Jake and Sean and they began the song. Jake played the first verse on the guitar, with the string section playing very softly while Sean sang. It was obvious that Jake had been practicing hard, because I hadn't seen him play an acoustic for a while, as he mainly played his base guitar when the boys were playing in the 'band'. His finger picking was very good and I'm sure Sean had helped him with it over the past few weeks.

Sean didn't seem too nervous and when he started singing we couldn't understand the words. It wasn't until the second verse that we realized that he had been singing in Irish Gaelic, which was still spoken in parts of Ireland even today. I knew it wasn't going to be long before Dana was reaching into her purse for Kleenex, as he was doing a marvellous job with the song. He was clear, on tune and very confident as he sang and his voice control, phrasing, tone and stage presence was excellent. His voice was still in the tenor range and had a very pleasant quality to it, which was enhanced by the work that Erin had obviously done with him. He was very expressive and he was thoroughly enjoying himself, as was everyone else.

When he finished he had a huge smile on his face as he thanked the audience, who gave him a long and very loud round of applause. He then acknowledged Jake in the pit and the applause continued for Jake's great guitar work.

"I want to explain that there wasn't anything wrong with your hearing, as Sean sang the first verse in Irish, in keeping with his heritage," Erin said.

And then it was Jake's Turn.

"Our last soloist is Sean's brother, Giacomo DiStefano, who will sing an Italian song, 'Io rinasco in te', written by an Italian Jazz composer, Mario Rosini."

Sean had now taken up a place in the orchestra pit and was setting up to play both of his guitars. When the conductor started the orchestra, Sean launched into a very nice short guitar riff on the acoustic, that had a flamenco flavour and then Jake started to sing.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing as he sang the song in Italian in a very clear operatic tenor's voice. Erin had him singing in a 'head voice' not his nomral 'chest voice' which is something I had heard her going over with him at the end of one of the practices when I was picking the boys up. Near the end of the song Sean played his electric guitar and did a great job with another guitar lick. It was a wonderful performance and we were all captivated by what we were listening to. Even though I couldn't understand anything he was singing I didn't have to as I knew that he had a marvellous gift that Erin was helping him develop.

Like Sean, Jake thanked the audience and directed their attention to Sean's guitar work, which drew a loud round of applause as well.

We waited for the boys to come out of the rehearsal room after the performance and join us in the hall. Rachel and Melissa moved forward to greet Sean and Jake when they came out, with Dana right behind them.

"I get first crack at the two superstars, girls," Dana said, as she put her arms around the boys and gave them each a big kiss.

Sean found Dana's overt show of affection a little embarrassing and mildly protested.

"That's my job, son, to embarrass you," she said, with a big smile, as she wiped the lipstick off of his cheek.

Finally Rachel and Melissa got their turns and the rest of us added our praise to all of the boys. On the way out, a couple of younger girls came up to Sean and Jake and asked for their autographs, which both of them found very amusing.

"It won't be long until you two have a fan club," I said, as Dana and I chuckled.

All the boys and their girlfriends, as well as Ronald, were going to Milestones to celebrate without the adults. Ronald and Charles had been discreet after the performance, but Mark and Sandy allowed them a few moments together in the parking lot where they couldn't be seen, before they got into the car.

"Charles and Ronald are still shy about showing affection in public, even though it was only their friends that could see them," Mark said, when we were together afterwards.

The adults had been invited back to Mark and Sandy's place for some refreshments and appetizers and we were going to pick up the kids from the restaurant afterwards. When we arrived to pick them up, all the kids were inside the entrance waiting, except Sean and Melissa.

"I think they're outside looking for you guys," Jake said, sheepishly.

Just then the two of them came through the door, holding hands.

"Isn't it a little cold to be waiting outside?" I asked.

"It was warm enough," Melissa replied, as the two of them smiled at each other. Her father wasn't pleased by her comment and gave her a look.

Since it was such a special night, we decided to do bedside goodnights. Jake was usually first to bed so we made our way into his room when he was ready to go to sleep.

"That was quite a performance tonight, son. I guess listening to all those opera arias paid off," I said.

"Domingo would have approved if he had been there tonight," Dana added, as she ran her fingers through his hair. He gave her a big smile.

Sean was just getting into bed when we came into his room. Barney had parked himself on the end of the bed and was burrowing into the covers to get ready to go to sleep.

"Whose idea was it to sing the first verse in Irish, Sean?" I asked.

He told us that the music Erin gave him had the words in English and Irish and he recognized the language. His grandmother, who was Irish and spoke the language, had taught him some words when he was younger and he was able to handle the difficult nature of the dialect. The assistant choir director was Irish and knew the language as well and gave him some help with the pronunciation.

"So were you teaching Melissa some Irish when we arrived to pick you up at the restaurant tonight," Dana said, as she rubbed his arm with her hand.

"Not exactly," he said, with a crafty smile.


Prayer - Libera

You Raise Me Up - Dennis Chmelensky

Come By The Hills - Damian McGinty

Io rinasco in te - Mattia Rossi

Oklahoma

Ave Verum - Mozart


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