I almost reached for the phone to call you today after I read an article in the Washington Post about Obama's address to the people of Cuba. You see, Obama's administration is seriously lifting many of the restrictions that were in place against Cuba. I know how much you would appreciate this.
Of course, I am thinking so much of the time we went to Cuba as a family. It was incredible. Wasn't it around 2005? We got to fly directly from Miami, so rare in those days. It was because you were part of an organization called Send a Piana (Piano) to Havana and we were bringing music, instruments, piano parts, and tuning supplies to several music schools in Havana.
I'll never forget what we saw in Havana. We saw a city swathed in poverty, to be sure. But we also saw a culture so rich, so proud, so beautiful. Although most families depended on their government rations of a few bags of rice and beans per month, they welcomed us with generous, carefully prepared dinners and evenings of camaraderie.
And the schools - just amazing. Of course, music is a highly-valued part of the Cuban culture. We went to some of the best music schools in the city, so in the country, really, and we saw kids hammering out extraordinary melodies on pianos with missing keys, strumming soulful tunes on beaten-up guitars, producing Mozart from worn cellos and violins. You spent days fixing those instruments, tuning as many pianos as possibly could, teaching others how to do the same in your stead. I know you left those schools in much better shape than they were before we arrived.
What a gift you gave our family, bringing us all to Cuba to be part of something like that. None of us will ever forget it. And what a gift you gave those children.
You left a great legacy, one of joy, generosity, love, and, of course, music.
I'm celebrating Cuba today. And I'm celebrating you. Si se puede.