Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Piano

I took piano lessons for 24 years. At least that's what I thought at the time. I think it must have been maybe 2. My Mom played the piano for us, and the church, (and organ for the church) and was the choir director for 2 choirs for as long as I can remember. She had a small studio spinet piano that said Acrosonic on it. It was fairly new when I was young but I don't think it was top of the line.
In Mom's later years, she would say to me "I want you to have that piano". Which didn't mean much to me at the time. Mom got sick with kidney failure in '76 and asked me to direct her choir and finish the Christmas Contata we were working on.
I don't recall anything, anyone has asked me to do that I wanted to do less. But she said, "just this once". "When I come back I'll take over again". Well she didn't get better and passed away the next spring. I'm still directing the choir. I know virtually nothing about music but we've had a continual 18 to 25 people in the choir since then. The secret to pulling that off is a very fortunate string of extremely talented accompanist's.
The piano sat in Dad's house until he died 11 years later and we moved down the road to the big house and the piano. By then I had a young daughter, that my Mother knew for 3 years and they adored each other. My Daughter wanted to take piano lessons and learn to play Grandma's piano. She did. She became quite, no very good at the piano and organ. She has had 2 years of college training in 'Organ Performance', and our little church couldn't be more fortunate. She directs the choir when I'm not there and when I am there she still is in charge of most of the important things like recognizing our problem areas. She will be playing a difficult accompaniment and I will begin to hear a singular part being played a bit louder than the rest of the notes. It could be the tenors off a bit and she heard it and is playing their part, along with the rest of the song.
She has the piano up at her place now. We miss it because our daughter would play Mom and Dad to sleep almost every night beginning at about the eight grade. Our piano tuner said "man, someone has really used this piano, the hammers are about shot". They are, it's beginning to sound a bit like a honky-tonk piano where they've put thumbtacks on the hammers.
Marilyn was up to stay with the kids for a few hours the other night. She was to put them in bed as their Mother wouldn't be home till 11:00. Grandma tucked them in bed. The oldest said, "Grandma, Mom always plays the piano until we fall asleep, will you." I know why Mom wanted me to have that piano.

5 comments:

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

Hey there Honey,

Just popping in to give you your wish!

Now if your wife comes after me with a big stick, I'm gonna tell her it was your idea. :)

Next time ya'll come thru At-lanta (or around it) stop on by and we'll have us some sweet tea - or Mint Julips if it's late enough (Okay, I fess up, how 'bout a Bud Lite instead?) and we'll chat about Kudzu and cows. We'll eat biscuits and gravy.

Good times for all!

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Cliff

As well as Julie plays the piano I imagine those kids fall asleep fast. She is one of the best I have ever heard.

Ralph

Triplet Dads said...

Cliff,

when your mom died (grandma), I was playing the organ for our church as a teenager. I remember running to the church after hearing the news. I sat down at the organ and cranked up the volume. As I played, I remember praying "grandma, can you hear me? I'm playing for you."

Cliff Morrow said...

I know she did. Thanks Marty.

bridgesitter said...

Cliff that was one of the most beautiful stories I've read in along time. Yes, your mama knew what she was doing when she gave you that piano. Her actions are still touching people, me included. Thanks