Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas and the Piano

After church yesterday, the family all went to Mother’s for dinner.

Mother had been after me to corral the kids to come to her house for a Christmas dessert. She has still been holding on to the family coming to her house for Christmas day dinner for sometime despite the fact that times are a changing and that those changes weren’t all tied to her moving here two years ago this Christmas, but kids growing up and having new responsibilities of their own.

This year knowing that Lindsay and Tyler weren’t going to be here for Christmas at all, she was trying to figure out how to get us all under her roof. That is for another story.

Bless her heart; I know my years going forward are changing with her. She is still spry in many ways and still has her right mind, but I see lots of changes too. She doesn’t seem to be able to cook like she once did, so Lindsay and I were rapidly trying to scheme how to make this work for the menfolk.  I think she realizes it to a degree, so she actually was just going to do a dessert, but quite frankly the dessert she wanted to make is a no go with the men. We managed to talk her into Lindsay and Tyler picking up seafood after church at a local place and then we talked her into a Marie Callendar’s cobbler assuring her the guys would all like that way more and she wouldn’t have to cook, just have us over to eat. She agreed to it because she desperately wanted to hold onto that tradition of having us at her house, but knowing she can’t pull it all together anymore. I am glad I paid attention to her baking skills over the years, because she was once a great baker.

I decorated her mantle for her.

What led me to share this whole story with you was this…

She bought me a piano between the first and second grade, and then hauled me from Repton to the other side of Monroeville to Beatrice for piano lessons once a week the next year. For those readers not familiar with the southern communities, these towns are all rather small and in south Alabama. Beatrice is not even pronounced like the female's name. You would have to hear to believe I am afraid. The piano teacher’s home was a small antebellum style home, so it was serious business ---this piano stuff.  I was forced to take lessons for many years, so you would think that I would be a concert pianist.

Oh no I assure you I am not. My complete playlist after all those years  is maybe a dozen songs…far less these days. It consists of a couple Christmas carols, a few hymns, and a few pop songs from the early 1970’s. All of my playlist has “b” and “e” flats, NO SHARPS. I hate sharps. I can only read the music, no ad lib with chords either.

Tyler, my son-in-law wondered about the piano, so I had to prove to him I could play it. As I stumbled through Away in a Manger and Silent Night, I heard my mother say…”Well, if she would just come over and practice everyday, she could play better.” 

I just cringed at the thought, but dared not turn around! Lindsay came to my aid and said, “Grandma, I don’t think Mama wants to spend her time doing that anymore.” Why, Yes, I thought….Praise the Lord and preach it Lindsay.

Jeff and Paul Allen chimed in also to my aid, not to rescue me like dear Lindsay, but to make sure there was never even a thought that they would have to move that piano to our house. You see I have told Mother for years that I have no desire to keep the piano. She has tried to get me to take it for a decade.  I dearly hoped she would sell it before the move here, but no, it was coming. Even then, she was saying, “You can come over and practice.” I am 57 and she still hasn’t figured out that I have no talent. It is true; No one loves you quite like a mom.

When we first started talking about the move, it was the first thing out of both Jeff and Paul Allen’s mouth, “How are we going to move that piano?” 

Turns out we used Two Men and a Truck. They are still making sure that job is not ever their job, and I am still trying to make sure I never have to practice everyday.

You might note from the picture of me practicing is the outfit I am wearing. Mother made most of my clothes and I never once felt that they were anything less than designer clothing. Mom is a great seamstress. I would show her a picture of what I wanted and off to the fabric store we went and bam, I had a new outfit. Her sewing machine is far more valuable to me than a piano that I can't play and makes me think of every piano teacher screeching at me to remember to play the sharp.

Talk to y'all soon as I am finished with my shopping. Now I need to wrap gifts and clean my house. I had a sick son to take care of which is another long story. He is 25, but no one loves you like your mother.


  1. Sandy this is such a beautiful story of a Mother's love for her children. No matter what she wants it to be like it used to be. And it is very hard to change that. One day I will tell you my piano story when I was student teaching. It was my first and last time at the piano!

    We have alot in Mom was a professional seamstress and made all of my clothes too. Everyone loved them and could not believe my Mom made them. When she made my designer wedding gown from a picture in Brides'a Magazine they were shocked to see what it looked like. I wish that talent had been passed on to me.

    Hold on to the times you spend with your Mom...they are all a very special breed. Merry Christmas my friend. RJ

    1. I would love to hear your piano story. It is definitely not my thing. My mom is precious, but she has struggled the past three years. I see her slowing down for sure.

  2. Oh Sandy we are SECRET Sisters...I took lessons too on an old upright that weighed a ton!:) No sharps for me either..only hymns and a few other songs as well. I got a digital piano about 15 years ago as a gift from Marvin. I did enjoy it but realized quickly no amount of practice could turn me into a pianist So I gave the piano to my daughter in law, Nancy who is a great pianist but she does not enjoy playing very much. I think because it was such an ordeal to her as a youngster. And like you, I am seeing changes in my mother that are upsetting. Her mind is not what it used to be and it breaks my heart. So glad I can go and be with her and my sisters at Grimmwood. You are also right.Mama's TLC is not quite like any other.

    1. I wonder how many of us our age endured those piano lessons. Neither of my children showed any interest and I didn't even try it with them. Lindsay liked arts things and Paul Allen sports. Interesting that Nancy doesn't enjoy it. I don't think you can push it on them:)
      It is sad to see Mom not be her old self. I get aggravated with her, but I love her so and am glad she is here rather than me traveling and worrying about her up there all the time. IT is good that y'all have this season to visit with her.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post today along with seeing the picture of you at the piano. I hope your son is feeling better.

    1. Thanks Robin. That boy needs to pay attention to Mama more about going to the doctor. He is better.

  4. Sandy, I bought a keyboard for my 4 year old newphew yesterday, I hope he has more luck with playing the piano than I did. I paid for my own lessons when I was young and tried again about 10 years ago but alas, no musical talent whatsoever.

    My mother was a great seamstress too and made much of my clothing, our mothers were a special breed! I hope your son feels better. Mary

  5. I also took piano lessons as a girl and have been thinking for some years now that I would like to start playing again. My mother plays and my grandmother played, both of them much better than me :-) Happy Holidays, dear Sandy.

  6. Oh, mom's and pianos!! I took lessons for a number of years, too, but the recitals just scared me to death and I ended up begging to quit. It's sad, because I probably would have kept them up if the teacher hadn't made us participate in the recitals. My mom told me I would regret quitting some day--and I do! But, I have no desire to resume lessons at age 62 :)

    How nice that your mom could make you such lovely clothes! My gram was like that--mom said she could just look at a person and make a dress for them... Not a talent I inherited, sadly!

  7. I love seeing your photo at the piano. I always loved playing....and still do but I don't have that special talent others have. Merry Christmas! Holiday hugs, Diane


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