Minute Memories: My Grandpa

talltabI don’t know if playing music by ear is a gift that can be inherited, but if it is, I can’t take full credit for what I have learned.  I have a long ancestral line of musicians, including trumpeters, harmonica players, singers, band leaders, songwriters, whistlers, and of course, piano players.
talltabMy Grandpa Hathaway played the piano by ear.  I never asked him what kind of technique he used to learn what he played, but I have vivid memories of watching his fingers dance across the keys as the sounds of Beautiful Dreamer and Memories filled my grandparents’ living room.  Their house always had a classic, well-cared for style, with curio-cabinets and intricate mementos of their lives and era.  The piano was situated in the tightest corner of their beautiful living room, with only enough room for the piano and a player, but the music carried throughout the whole house.
talltabNot only did Grandpa teach himself to play that piano, he essentially put the thing together himself – at least after taking it completely apart.  When he and Grandma bought it, they wanted to put it in the downstairs living room, but their stairway was too narrow for a full-size piano.  So Grandpa disassembled the whole thing – with every key removed, and took it down into the living room in pieces.
talltabGrandma hassled him that he would never be able to get the thing back together, but he did, and it is still there today.  I suppose that piano will stay with the house forever.
talltabWe had a piano in our living room, too, though we didn’t have to take it apart to get it there.  I was fourteen when I decided I was going to really learn to play the piano, and that year Grandma and Grandpa Hathaway came for Thanksgiving Dinner.
talltabDuring those contented hours between the feast and the serving of pie, I found myself Continue reading

Childrens Story: Mr. Johnson

I’ve mentioned my aspirations to write a Childrens book or two – well, here’s another go at it.  This one would portray a small child talking with a very old man named Mr. Johnson.  Thanks to Ezioman on flickr for the borrowed photo!

Old Man and Child

Mr. Johnson

“Mr. Johnson, I declare, haven’t you got any hair?”

“I’ve thought hard, my little scout, thought till all my hair fell out!”

“Why then are your eye’s so crinkly, why is your whole face all wrinkly?”

“Skin can slowly fold in half, each time I smile or start to laugh!”

“You don’t walk, you only hobble, when you try you start to wobble!”

“You can see all things are holy, when you try to walk more slowly.”

“Why then do your poor ears ring, so you can hardly hear a thing?”

“Greater voices that I hear, speak from the heart, not through the ear.”

“Even when you look at me, your eyes are much too dim to see.”

“The greatest things will always be, the things we do not hear or see!”

“Mr. Johnson, please reply, are you so old that you will die?”

“My child, my child, I think I might,
but everything will be alright.
Little one, come close and hear,
for death is not a thing to fear.
There came one once who made a way
so all will live again someday.
‘Follow me, and live’ He said,
and He Himself rose from the dead.
He taught us how to love and give,
he showed a better way to live.
And if we do the things we ought,
and live to follow as he taught,
then when our death comes beckoning,
our death will be a joyful thing!”

“Mr. Johnson, I don’t know, I will miss you if you go!”

“Yes, my child, I’ll miss you too, but I will still watch over you,
and when you come to join me then, we’ll be together once again!”

– Chas