Good Night, Moon. Good Night, Gil

Here's one father who made unusual use of Gil Scott-Heron's work -- as a lullaby for his daughters.

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And the concerts always ended the same way, with two melodies that signified that all was well: “A Lovely Day” and “Your Daddy Loves You.” The first one said look to the bright side, for all would be well, regardless of what happened during the day:

On a clear spring morning
There’s not a cloud in the sky
… when I see that old sun shining
Makes me think that I can make it too
Yes. And all I really want to say
Is that the problems come and go
But the sunshine seems to stay.
Just look around. I think we found
A lovely day.

And the latter, with its refrain: “Your daddy loves you. Your daddy loves his girls,” simply meant that all was right in the world and Daddy would fix whatever was broken. For years, if they woke up in the middle of the night, shaking from a terrible nightmare, a brief concert of just those two songs would chase away the looming monsters. “A Lovely Day” would erase the shakes, and they would be asleep by the end of “Your Daddy Loves You.”

The nightly concerts faded away as they became “big girls.” But growing up does not eliminate nightmares, especially the real ones. At 15, Brie needed cancer surgery — a prospect that would scare an adult and surely terrified a 10th-grader. Kir, then a college freshman, missed coming home for the surgery because she was in intensive care in a California hospital, where doctors tried to reduce the swelling of her brain stem from meningitis. Brie cried that she wouldn’t live to graduate from New Jersey’s Teaneck High School. Kir cried over the phone that the pain was unbearable and she wouldn’t live to see tomorrow.