Lana Hechtman Ayers What a Wonderful World for Louis Armstrong When Satchmo set down the trumpet and let his gravelly voice become the music, the earth nearly stopped spinning in awe of such angelic praise. It was a sweltering summer Sunday afternoon in my house, Daddy lying on the couch with the fat weekend paper, sat up and set it aside when the song filtered into the living room from the radio, filling it with fluttering Monarch butterflies, lilac blossoms heavy with scent, red hibiscus blooms dripping dew onto the rust shag rug, suddenly transformed to a carpet of soft green grass my toes couldn’t resist & a cool breeze rose up from palms trees that shimmied in the corners. My mother, who possessed no silly bone, showed up in a hula skirt & matched the swaying rhythms with her ample hips. And soon, my brother joined in, shaking a box of salt, & robins bobbed heads from their perch on the coffee table, & daddy whistled along, while our dog rolled cartwheels & ice cream sundaes floated down from the sky that once was a ceiling, now only cloudless blue. And when the song ended as songs do, the room became a room again. The breeze vanished, along with the trees & birds & grass. The staleness of humid air asserted itself again and my mother complained about the too-bright sun & my brother blamed me for something I hadn’t done & my father didn’t look up from the newspaper, ignoring the fuss. Me, I closed my eyes & covered my ears. I could still hear Satchmo’s voice rising from the middle of my chest, a crooning from inside my heart & his raspy, happy praise song has lived there ever since.