Bringing out the best in it
Friday November 27th 2020, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Now that we’re officially between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I don’t think I’ve told this story here before, and it’s worth telling again if I have. With thanks to Anne for sending me a video of someone playing an intense organ piece and prompting this; my son Richard minored in organ performance.

My grandmother was a concert pianist. I inherited her musical talent but my hands did not–they’re the one dyslexic part of me, wanting to reverse notes at random until I practice and practice to the point of forcing muscle memory on them.

My son Richard is all Gram. He’s good. Hum a tune, he’ll embellish it at the piano with all ten fingers going at once and improvise it into a whole new thing, any style you want.

In college he had to go to a practice room on campus in order to play. Those are reserved for music majors at all times–in four years on that campus I found an open piano room twice. He *needs* his keyboard time in a way that I didn’t quite.

Coming home at Christmas meant the piano was right there and all his. It’s an old one of Gram’s; she bought it for their DC apartment when her husband was elected to the Senate before I was born, a very good upright, but it just wouldn’t do and she had to have her grand. She gave the upright to my folks and it got passed down to me.

One holiday season when Richard was in college, the guy I’d hired to tune it ever since we’d moved here just didn’t have time to fit me in–right around Thanksgiving he gets booked up fast because everybody wants to be ready for get-togethers.

And then, bless him, Neil decided he would squeeze me in anyway. It would be a quick tune-and-run, though, no time to catch up on life.

That was fine, and thank you!

So he came. He tuned. I thanked him, we wished each other the best and he was off.

A few days later my son flew home, finals done, the house ready for Christmas, and sat down at that piano and let’er rip in loud, exuberantly happy music all over the keyboard.

About a minute into it (and having him in on this with me) I dialed the phone and when the call was answered, said, This is Alison–and held the phone towards the piano as Richard grinned and really let’er rip. That piano had never sounded so good.

Neil, listening, said with great emotion, “I can’t tell you how much this means to me!”

The music got just a little softer (because the kid knew his mom needed the help hearing on the phone), I wished Neil and his a Merry Christmas and he me and then we let each other go back to our families, the moment never to be forgotten. I was and am so grateful for his kindness.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jonathan Scott does a concert every weekend (Saturday around 11/11:30am pacific). He’s been doing this on YouTube during COVID-19. His brother, Tom, does the audio and video. Jonathan has a degree in piano performance, as well as organ. Tom also has a degree in piano. I haven’t had a chance to watch the two of them play together, though there are videos.

Comment by Anne 11.28.20 @ 12:49 am

The poor guy probably hardly got to experience the results of his craft. That was so good of you!

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 11.28.20 @ 8:33 am

What a beautiful way to thank someone who probably loves music, which is why (I imagine) he does his job! My daughter-in-law is a cellist and loves music; to make extra money, she will often take on work for a local luthier, repairing and restringing instruments. To hear the results of the work must be so rewarding!

Comment by Pegi F 11.29.20 @ 6:14 am

You being the sort of person who would think to share the joyful music with him is part of why he was willing to fit you into a busy schedule, I would think. Nice!

Comment by ccr in MA 11.29.20 @ 8:22 am

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>