It's too early to be sure, but my daughter Leyla Fern seems destined to be one of those people who inspires others.
Here she is posed with a portrait of herself, commissioned by her auntie, Mary Magdalene Mensah, of Lashibi, Ghana (funky, suburban Accra). It's not everyone who has been painted by a West African portrait artist - rendered in traditional kente cloth - before exiting kindergarten. (Click on the thumbnail for a better view.)
Leyla also is the subject of a lullaby composed by the great jazz pianist Tom McDermott. A St. Louis native long since repatriated to New Orleans (with more ties in Brazil, now, than Missouri), Tom composed the piece to celebrate the baby's birth. It will appear on his next release.
I have also been writing songs about Leyla for as long as she has been alive. I have done nothing to approach the deep, overpowering love of a father - so far, I've only tossed off throwaway songs intended to temporarily amuse the girl, nothing I would take the trouble to record.
However, this weekend I was sorting through my cassette archive looking for something else and I came upon a songwriting tape that dates from Leyla's infancy. To try to get her to quiet down and let me work on my new songs, I played her the two things I had written for her. The cassette deck was rolling, so the songs were recorded.
"My baby is a rocker"
"She's my best friend"