People who have near death experiences all talk about a peaceful, euphoric , bright light enveloping them. From the moment we are conceived, we are moving towards that light. This is my heels diggin' in, I don't wanna' go, reluctant journey, into the light. Stephen

Monday, March 15, 2010

Piano Lessons / "Yeah, but aren't you glad now?"

My cursed beloved.

Hal Gilbreath and I were on the run.  Outlaws. Desperate, single minded desperados, fleeing Mrs. Taggert's annual piano and organ recital.  We had one door, and the breadth of one church parking lot to negotiate and we would be free.  It was working, and then, out of nowhere, Nita, Hal's mother, had ahold of one of those generous ears of her son. She drug us both back into the church.  No way I  was going to continue the prison break by myself.  Plus I knew she knew my Mom.  Double busted.

I HATED piano lessons.  Did I mention that  I didn't like piano lessons?  I was in between 2nd and 3rd grade when my Mom signed both myself and  my older brother up for piano lesions. (I spelled it that way on purpose)  I took to it a little faster than my Bro.  He got to quit, I wasn't allowed to.  It was the bane of my youth. I was designated as family religious accompaniest.  Same thing for Hal. It was the wrong instrument for both of us, and we was havin' NO part of it. I can't remember what either Hal or I played at that recital,,,,,,,,,,the pain has erased the memory. 

Hal and I were running away,,,,, from humiliation.  I mean, for God's sake, hadn't Mrs. Taggert ever heard of Jerry Lee Lewis?  Nope.  She was the church organist at the prison we were fleeing.  Play either of these songs a little too passionately or with a little too much syncopation, and you were going to get WHACKED across the back of the hand with her little baton.

It wasn't that I didn't like playing music.  I LOVED  my grade school band teacher, Mr. Rodgers.  We played, Tijuana Brass, Neil Diamond, etc.,  and rocked the house.  Saxophone was my game .  I loved it.  I didn't have to do it, but instead I did it because I wanted to. Not like that effing piano.

Every single day for years on end, I had to practice that piano an hour every day, go to Mrs. Taggert's for an hour long lesson every week, and that one dreaded annual recital.  That hour every day of piano practice,,,,,,,,,,,sucked worse than any other aspect of my youth.  No basketball, no horse riding, no NOTHING,  until after that hour of hell.  My non-compliance with expected levels of diligence, resulted in my getting whipped with a leather belt many times.  But I've made my peace with all that.

Now I pound that ivory because I want to.  Not because I have to.  Big Difference.  And I play it like Jerry Lee would have.  But still, when people say, "yeah, but aren't you glad now?"  I say, "nope."  The pain of being forced is still too fresh.  I always imagine, how cool it would be now, if instead of piano, it would have been drums.  Imagine how much  better the neighbors would like it if I had a 40 year head start on the drumming they are forced to endure.

In the Bible it says,  "make a joyful noise unto the Lord."  All I want , is to be able to make my OWN kind of noise.  Don't worry, it will definitely be joyful.  My joy.  How I hear and feel it.  I'm sure Hal feels the same way.


Marla said...

I don't ever think forcing kids to do something makes them happy. Instead, it just makes them grow to hate whatever they are being forced to do.

Drums are awesome though.

Shannon said...

Having absolutely no musical talent to speak of, I sometimes wish I had been forced into such a thing when I was a least to see if there was anything inside me worth building on. I was told to do my! That didn't turn out much better than your piano lesson experience!