Little notes got me to the other side of the Edge…

Yesterday.  It’s where this post begins and it would have been my Dad’s 95th birthday.  Known as “the Major” (he retired from the Army as a Major) to those closest to the family, he was a man of many gifts.  The gift box I possess from all that he gave me, is a neverending overflow and there is nary the space here to talk about all of them. 

Music is on the top 5 list of most treasured of gifts.  I grew up listening to my Dad play piano.  Our piano was downstairs in the finished basement of our 1950’s? raised ranch.  An old upright, it held all the magic a girl could ever want.  As was his habit during the week, the Major would come home from work, loosen the ole tie and settle in for a scotch and water and a few snicky snacks – that’s Kathleen code for cheese and crackers.  Very often it was cheese out of a jar.  Old English (no silly not the cologne!).  Do you know they still make this cheese?! 

After reading the paper and relaxing (“chilling”, the kids might say today), my Dad would head down to the basement to play the piano.  As soon as he sat down on the chair (part of an old dining room set) he “went away”.  Upstairs we (my Mom and I) often sensed where he went by what he was playing.  Let me explain:  my Dad had a natural gift for playing the piano.  By ear as they say.  His repetoire often included the classics of his day which is to say the 40’s and 50’s ( I never knew when he slipped in his originals).  Sometimes the music was melancholy other times joyful and yet at other times simply playful. 

I often would go downstairs to listen and watch.  My Dad had a particular look when he was playing that is difficult to describe – slight hunch to the shoulders, eyes appearing to look down at the keyboard but it wasn’t a keyboard he was seeing.  You could almost see time suspended.  Anyway, I think my Dad really enjoyed having an audience, even an audience of one.  (Of course upstairs, putzing around was my Mom, his biggest fan who made the audience two).

I think there were times my Dad longed for the days where he was the entertainment at parties and various functions (military and non-military).  He loved to play piano and loved that people loved that he could sit down and simply play.  Play what he thought they would like, play their requests or simply play what might come to him at that very moment.  I think the only time my Dad was really spontaneous was when he was sitting in front of a piano.

I don’t know when it started, I was pretty young but there was one piece of music my Dad loved to play for me.  It didn’t matter if I was downstairs listening beside him, (that was preferred) or whether I was upstairs helping my Mom get dinner ready.  He knew I loved hearing it, he loved playing it and to this day I cannot but smile and be thankful for the gift of his special, unique version of the March of the Wooden Soldiers, somtimes called March of the Toy Soldiers.  Thank you Dad, I was listening to you play for me all of the day that would have been your 95th birthday.

[Obviously there is no YouTube vid on the planet of your version but let me post a little something  for you.  Here’s a song gift, me to you… (“Yeah, I do know your version was better LOL”)

6 thoughts on “Little notes got me to the other side of the Edge…

  1. RCoyne January 10, 2013 / 4:44 pm

    Can I jump in here and wave my GOTE flag around a bit?
    Hey, WordPress!!! This ought to be up on your top-ten page today, instead of yet more photographers with pictures of mountains and flowers. Look for some actual writing once in a while!!!
    Reading this makes me feel like not even a bad writer, but more like a monkey who found a box of crayons.
    An elegant and moving tribute, Girlie. I can all but hear that piano playing.
    And although you wouldn’t have done it on purpose, it’s a tribute to you, too.


    • GirlieOnTheEdge January 10, 2013 / 7:20 pm

      Thank you Bud:) Your words mean a great deal. Writing a blog where feedback is spotty, it’s tough to know when I’m doing a good job and when I’m totally sucking. (Actually, I pretty much know when I suck!) More importantly though is knowing on occaision that my words have touched someone, given them food for thought and in general entertained them. Maybe even educated them.
      If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you the “story” about this post. Since I’ve been lacking in the creativity dept. lately I thought I’d look through some old drafts sitting around to see if I could get re-inspired. I spotted a draft from December which, as it turns out, was only the title. The title of this post. When I originally wrote this title I was thinking about the penchant most clarks have for writing things on little pieces of paper – lists, books to read, words to lyrics, etc.
      As I sat and started to write about the “paper” notes, other words butted their way into my brain and well, it turned into what you have read. It was very emotional in fact, and I guess I knew then that there would be words to publish. The full impact of the title didn’t really hit me until last night.
      Thank you again.


  2. Molly M. January 11, 2013 / 1:11 am

    An excellent tribute! I don’t think anything beats real music in the home. What a delightful way to spend a part of every day.


    • GirlieOnTheEdge January 11, 2013 / 8:56 am

      Thank you Molly:)
      Music – it’s like the air we breathe. An absolute necessity!
      It is also the greatest art.


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