owl in winter

owl in winter

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Sweet Melody Lingers

My mother gave me a piano years ago, before son #1 was born. The piano is a beautiful antique, heavy wooden carving, real ivory keys, brass foot pedals. Once it belonged to her aunt, and my mother bought it for $50 dollars after I was born and kept it all those years.

And then she gave it to me.

My mother was a musician first, above every other role she took on during her lifetime. I can't tell you how many nights I fell asleep to her accordion or organ music swelling the house. She was part of every choir in any church she went to or belonged to. When she and her brothers were young, they formed a guitar-playing singing trio and they traveled to county fairs around Wisconsin singing gospel songs. She was an avid pianist and violinist, and played the ukulele.

She required my sister and I to take piano lessons and one other musical instrument as well. My other instrument was the flute.

Back in the day, we, as a family, mother, father, sister and brother, formed a singing group and we also did a little bit of "touring." Mostly to neighboring churches and the occasional family reunion. Nothing big, but she would have liked it to be.

I remember, after her first stroke, how she struggled to relearn the piano skills she once had, and she eventually regained every bit of skill she had always had and played her piano up until the second stroke that ultimately took her life.

About six months before she passed, she asked me, "do you play that piano anymore?"

I shamefully said, "no, I haven't played in years."

Yesterday, I saw the sheet music she liked to play ("Sonatina No. 2") still sat in the same spot, the spot where she left it last Thanksgiving when she came to my house for dinner and played her old piano. I raised the lid, and sat down to the keys and began to play for the first time in way too many years. Haltingly at first, slowly, but with a little more skill when I closed the lid again than when I started.

Sweet memories, sweet melody. Bone of my bone, heart of my heart.

My mother left me with a sweet melody, one that I will always treasure.

What are your treasured memories?

1 comment:

  1. Dagmar McGill and Girl Scouts. My Momma told me that I had to keep up with piano lessons or give up Girl Scouts. I LOVED Girl Scouts; HATED piano lessons/recitals. I'm tone deaf--playing is a matter of reading and arithmetic for me. I'd heave up my toenails after every recital. I "pick" around on a piano from time to time--grateful, now, for the ability but I still lack the talent for good playing.

    My treasured memories are of the camps, meetings, experiences that those lessons provided for me. :-)