And we’ve been drumming quite a bit of late, because we have TWO now, plus a just-acquired “'monica” which had belonged to Chris’ Dad, who was quite the virtuoso. Our little one loves the thing, and caught right on to the running of scales and the intake/out-blow method of music-making. She hands me a drum and some sticks, and picks up her harpoon---we play. Any and all who enter here play, as well, being handed around drums, sticks, maracas, a pot lid---we’re like the geriatric version of a kindergarten rhythm band, with a tee-ninecy conductor.
Here, the musical memories and wishes may have to go on for several chapters over several days, but if you’re interested:
I’d dearly love to hear my dear, dear neighbor from Mississippi at his Steinway, playing Liebestraum and Pavane for a Sleeping Princess and Moonlight Sonata and the mystical, haunting Traumerei, which he always played for me after a hard day at work or when the boss’ mannerisms had been especially harsh. I would sit in his Mother’s little gooseneck rocker, and he would hand me a dainty glass of Tawny Port; I would rock and dream and it would soothe away the day, and by the end of the Schumann I was almost melted into the chair like a spent snowman, dwindling in the sun.
I severely regret the misplacement of a plate-sized reel of tape during one of our various moves; I’ve had no way to play it again, as we have never had a reel-to-reel machine, but just the having of it was enough. It was the pinnacle of my friend’s career as an artist and teacher, playing The Age of Anxiety, with Bernstein conducting. And just to hold it in my hands would be a miracle, of sorts---all that talent and those gifted hands and minds condensed and graven into that fragile, spinning hoop of vinyl and dreams.
I’ve always longed to see that ragtag band of my ancestors out in the hills, to see the home-made instruments and their faces and their clothes and how tall they were---to see the young, sinewy boys and the too-soon men and the innocent sweet girls with the string-callused fingers and the palms of field-hands. Had they had a good dinner and were they tired from their day in the field before they felt the sun’s arc ease toward the horizon so they could come home to the shade of the yard? I imagine they lined up to wash their hands and faces, sluicing their heads and the backs of their necks for cooling, and toweling down with the same old gray towel on the porch-nail, a small, backwoods semblance-rite of purification before entering the sanctity of their Mother’s home.
Another use for an old galvanized washtub:
I would love to watch and hear them play and sing the old hill songs---Lorena and Wildwood Flower, and all the other old warbly, plaintive songs which would have been blues had they known the word---playing at barn dances and weddings, or congregated at home in the parlor or front room or wherever their phone was, playing over the party line.
And more music tomorrow---I'd love to hear your own memories and longings for music of times past, or music missed, or music yet unheard.