Down the streets of Savannah Georgia, a jazz band plays so loud. Four seasoned players with salt and pepper colored hair, dark shades, and baggy clothes geared out under the pale moonlight in an alleyway; streets fit for kings. There lies a cello with wear and tear marks from ages of strumming, a bass guitar with three replaced strings from over 20 years of life, a saxophone, big and covered with tarnished gold peeled from the bottom, and a trumpet; loud and beautiful, filling the air with notes anyone could hear. Every night before they play, they pray and say their chant, “Let tonight, if it’s the last, ring music into their souls. Let our tunes bring happiness, that makes them lose control. If only just for one night, does this jazz band see it through, we’ll come back here tomorrow night and play them something new”.
Every Night for twenty years they played and rocked those streets, all wearing brown tweed jackets, with little brown buttons, in the tradition of a good time; never once forgetting to have it. One night, while getting ready to play, the sax player noticed one of his buttons was missing. Nervous and on edge he was unsure if he should even go on, “Over fifteen years of wearing the same ol’ jacket and not a button missing, and tonight it chooses to vanish. What’s so special about tonight?” he said to himself. Nothing, nothing at all. It was the same crowd that’s been jazzed up with them for all these years, and nothing was different, so this was a chance worth taking for him because they had to go on in 10. He tried not to think about it, because they prayed like every night, but something about that missing button just wasn’t sitting right.
“Alright fellas, it’s time to play!” the bass guitarist said, he followed them into the alleyway and raised his sax to play. He closed his eyes and they began rocking out under the stars. Five minutes into the session, he realized his notes never left the end of his saxophone. Rituals and traditions never went recited, but one little brown button caused so much distress. He tried once more but nothing came out. Saddened and let down he left the stage, leaving everyone in awe. His band mates followed behind him to see what the problem was. “First time in 20 years has this ever happened”, said the sax player. The cellist answered back, “What did exactly happen out there? Everything was fine”, “I gotta find my button!” the sax player replied. “A button?” They all said in unison. “Yes, my button. One of them came off my jacket and it’s gotten me all messed up in the head.” Little chuckles filled the room. “If you’re not going to help me fine, but I can’t play without it”.
The first time ever, they canceled a session, but they had to help search for the button. Stepping into the streets they left no stone unturned or no leaf un-lifted. Blending in with the sidewalks, transparent to the wind, settled in the dirt, or soaked in water, nothing came to sight. “Maybe it fell in one of the instruments”, said the bass guitarist, so they all went back to see. They got their instruments and blew, but nothing. “It’s just a button!” the trumpet player said, but it was so much more. The sun slowly started to set rays of orange and gold, that created a shimmer of light to gleam from the dressing room window from under the seat. He ducked down low and reached his hand under the couch and pulled out a shiny silver screw. Thinking it was his button, the excitement slowly left his face.
As dawn turned into night, the moonlight began its dance upon the puddles in the streets of the alleyway. The sax player took what he felt, was his last stroll down those alleyways’ streets that once filled every crack and blade of grass with rocking jazz. With sadness, he looked back at what used to be, put his hands in his pockets, and walked away. He felt something there and quickly pulled his hand from his pocket. He stopped and stared at his palm for a minute. It was the button. He should have been happy now that he reclaimed his once lost button, but instead, he is troubled with the truth of knowing it was never lost at all. The tradition was never broken, but he still couldn’t find the notes; “why couldn’t I find the notes?” he asked himself out loud. Just because the button wasn’t visible, didn’t mean it wasn’t there, and just because he thought it was gone, didn’t mean he couldn’t play. He lost faith in himself and put into something material, and once you do that, you lose who you are.
He brought the button back to his band mates and told them it was in his pocket all along. Everyone looked at the button in his hand and just laughed. They patted him on the back and told him to gear for tonight. The band was back and was ready to rock the alleyway like every night before.