Saturday, January 16, 2010
Music and thinking of Dad
I was seven years old when I fell in love with the piano. I heard a friend's sister practicing "Fur Elise" and I knew I wanted to be able to make sounds like she did. I begged my parents to rent a piano and start me with a piano teacher. They did. I have played ever since.
Piano lessons led to piano recitals. Then competitions. Then more recitals. Finally, serious concerts (where people even paid real money to hear me play!). Later, I had a band, then played in various bands. Now I just play with my kids at Christmas. But it's all been fun.
Though there are a few musicians on Mom's side of the family (cousins who played banjo and accordion), I got my musical ability from my Dad. Dad's father could play any horn that was ever made, plus guitar, piano, and ukulele. I inherited all of Grandpa's sheet music, marked with his notes, including the piece below, "Yes, We Have No Bananas."
Dad played the cornet. Somewhere in his house sits a black leather case with college stickers on its ragged surface. Inside is his horn, tarnished from age and disuse. And medals. Dad played horn through college and was proud of his "great lips." All horn players say that.
As I make my way south, the music in my mind is sad. I go to see my father in the hospital, where he is very ill and confused. But tonight, as I rest from travel, it is sweet to remember this tune and the sound of Grandpa playing his ukulele and Dad singing along in his one note kind of way.