Thursday, October 12, 2006

a new song

Oh, I was a white letter day a few days ago. But the really incredibly wonderful thing about that letter was that it was addressed just to me, mumsy divine. Of course I felt that way when it was signed "your dearest son". Yes, he is that. And now my husband and I are working away trying to squirrel a few dollars on the side to get our son a keyboard. It is one of the few things he can have besides commissary stuff and books to keep his attention and have a "toy" to enjoy. He plays beautifully. He tells us the music is one thing that soothes his mind, and I'm very determined to see that he is able to have at least one nice thing in prison. We have always shared a love of music and it is a special bond between us. One of the last things we did as mother and son before everything happened was to see a production of Mozart's Requiem Mass performed by our local symphony and a full choir of home-grown talent.

It made me think of my own childhood, growing up playing piano, being in band and trying to sing. I never thought I had any talent at all. I was so nervous performing I figured no matter how much I practiced it didn't make a difference, but I still loved music. My mom tried to help me, bribing me with a photograph of me playing one day, when taking pictures was really a treat! (The flash blinded me so that ended my practice!) My sisters and I put on variety shows with our neighbors-my poor parents were coerced to sit in the cellar and watch us parade around in our home-made dresses and costumes, singing and dancing badly. My favorite 5th grade teacher convinced me to sing for the first public school variety show I'd ever potentially been a part of, and somewhere deep inside this shy girl there was a ham waiting to be sliced. We sang, get this, "Somebody's Knocking at the Door", which continues, "oh sinner, why don't you answer?...we would have been arrested by the PC police if that were today and my poor beloved teacher thrown in the clink with my son. I didn't do much with music after high school, though I loved band and played a respectable french horn.

It was a fast forward to around 17 years ago, when my first born began to take piano lessons. No, wait, let's back up a year. I began to think maybe I wanted to do music again and prayed for a keyboard. I was thinking, oh, sixty bucks-that might take me a year to save from our grocery budget during those salad days. In other words, it became the impossible dream. My husband had just started a new business, and laundry detergent was hard to come by. But I continued to clip pictures of keyboards and tape them in a journal I kept. Well, one day I got a call from my husband asking if I wanted a piano. You may as well have asked Michelangelo, did he want a block of Italian marble?? So off we went, and I found a beaut-carved roses on the front panel, lovely tone, to die for. Well, the beauty was spoken for, and in a few days we found out someone else took it. Did I want to look at another one, a cabinet grand? Yes...and it was delivered. Days later when I played it I noticed one very unusual feature-tiny carvings in the front panel corners. They were hearts with a dot over the top. When I did calligraphy at that time in my life, that is how I signed my finished pieces. I was told this year that the felts on that grand old girl are so worn they would have to be completely replaced. She's not going anywhere, but is now basically unrepairable I played so much.

My daughter played our grand, and my son, too. Well, learning to play once again led me into church worship and a whole new dimension-performance. Like a baby learning to walk, talk, run and then fly, opportunities opened up. I learned to love classical music as well, and it became a whole new world to me. Where I believed there was no talent, suddenly confidence and style bloomed. I can't brag about quality, but I sure as heck can sit down anywhere and pump out the tunes either by reading music or doing chording. What I thought about today as I considered when to send money for my son for his keyboard is that God is faithful. From a no talent kid to someone who zooms around with a brand-spanking new Alesis keyboard and amp, helping other people to worship and teaching beginning performers, I think about where my son's keyboard dream could possibly lead him. Nothing is impossible to those who believe and put wings to their dreams. I can help him fly, even behind bars.


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