Monday, December 26, 2011

Battling Keyboards

So, did everyone get all they wished for...and maybe more...this holiday season?  I know I did and the most fun was surprising Hubby with a gift he'd thought about but didn't think was realistic.  As some of you may recall, he once traded a customer some archery work for an old golf cart that had a BMW emblem on it.  We're not the types to drive a real Beemer, but living on 5 acres with a mailbox a fair distance away and a Hubby with a bum knee, it comes in handy.  Recently, however, the old Beemer was crawling so slow short little me could travel farther, faster.                                               

So for Christmas I got Hubby a new one.  Well, "newer" one as in 2008 vs. the 1980 model of the Beemer.  Which meant we had to go pick it up 2 days before Christmas because they don't deliver and were leaving town at 5 p.m. that day.  I guess when you have to pick up something you want, it's okay to mess with tradition a little.

Now about this title.  Santa brought me a new toy too: a digital piano with a full size keyboard.  This is where I learned that sometimes when I least expect it, Hubby is paying attention to every word I say.

I inherited the piano I learned to play on....the same, second hand piano that my Dad had learned on.  I ended up with it, not because I was first born but because out of the 3 of us, I'm the only kid who learned the old fashion way: by reading music.  Dad, Sis and Bro all played by ear, which, during childhood, I found annoying at best and frustrating when trying to learn a tough piece.  She's a beautiful old upright, "honky tonk" style piano and once I stopped taking lessons, I played her even more.  Over the years she moved in with Hubby and me and for a while, I played her on a consistent basis.

Yeah, you guessed it.  Life threw more and more into my schedule until she began to become neglected.  To tell you the truth, she'd become a little too out of tune and made hitting the correct notes sound like stumbling into a piano in the dark.  To spare her feelings, I dusted her more than I played.

And yet after owning the latest Hugh Laurie CD, I felt that itch to play resurface.  Oh sure, I knew I'd be out of practice but I could do it again.  Just like before...practice.  I'd mentioned having the old gal tuned in the past but Hubby gave me one of those parental looks that meant, "And you'll play with your new toy for a month, then find a new toy."

This year, however, unbeknownst to me (until Christmas morning, when all the good, spy worthy tales of shopping for each other get told) I found out he'd actually had a piano tuner come check her out.  Granted, she's probably close to 100 years old but I loved her, in spite of the fact my 4 year old brother once took a wooden hammer to her ivory keys one day and chipped away more than a couple.  He thought the sound was "pretty".   I considered them battle scars that never kept her from singing.

After checking her over, evidently the piano tuner offered Hubby $25 for her...to use as parts!

I married a smart man.  Our house is filled with antiques lovingly collected over the years.  He told the piano tuner, "Thanks, but no thanks".  Which is why on Christmas morning I unwrapped a digital piano with a full keyboard.  I'd already thanked Hubby when he told me about the piano tuner and I threw my arms back around him when he'd turned down the "big money" offer.  Because he knew the sentimental value of that piano was, to me, priceless.

And so while I practice on the new keyboard (and boy am I rusty!) in the shadow of the old gal who trained me to love the sound, we are both comforted in knowing she's not going anywhere.  She's a part of my childhood, of memories forged from playing while Mom cooked Sunday dinners, to singing "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey" at her side while Dad played...by ear.

She might be a glorified display shelf for my collection of kerosene lamps which rest on top of her, but she's still keeping me company, just out of the corner of my eye.

So although my computer keyboard may get a little jealous during my 2 week vacation (yeah...no work!), the new one will make a piano player out of me again.  Soon or later.

Don't worry...I won't totally desert you.  After all, you can only practice so much before it becomes work.

5 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

Can't get a better present than music!
x

steven said...

wow!!!!! it's so nice to take care of each other by opening doors like music. dive in hope and maybe you can learn how to share some of your work here one day!!! steven

Titus said...

What a fabulous Christmas tale! Wishing you all the best on the new, electric Joanna and a happy retirement to the old.

hope said...

Rachel: and hopefully it will sound like music again soon!

steven: yep. Now if I can just get my brain to wrap around reading music again.

Titus: it was/is! I just feel like a little kid who'll have to do some practicing!

G-Man said...

Happy New Year Hope..
I Hope it's Kick Ass!!!