ELEVEN DAYS WITHOUT 'AUNT MARY'
CAROLYN ELLIS describes
an unusual problem whilst travelling
This past November our family was away from home for eleven days. While it was our daughter's wedding in Virginia that got us out of Texas, the extended length of the trip was due to the fact that we have so much family back East that my husband and I decided to hang out with them for awhile before returning home. There was only one problem in all this: None of my family or my husband's family have a piano! Ugh!
Just in case the hotel where we would be staying for the wedding might have a piano, I went ahead and packed some of my favorite music. 'You never know', I told myself. While the hotel did indeed have a grand piano, upon inquiring at the desk about playing, the response I got was so adversarial ('You know you can't just bang on it', 'I have no idea where the piano bench is', etc) that I decided to just forget about it. The fact that the entire hotel lobby had music -- very nice music by the way -- piped in, also discouraged me.
Driving from Virginia to Washington DC after the wedding to stay with my brother and his family, I have to say I was disheartened by the fact that I would be utterly 'piano-less' for another week, but then such is life. Right? Once at my brother's, however, I noticed a couple guitars around. 'Say, maybe there's a keyboard here too!' I said to myself. Upon inquiring, I discovered that yes, my teenage nephew did indeed have a keyboard in the basement. With rising hope, I went straight to the basement. Unfortunately all I found was a three-and-a-half-octave 'toy' -- hardly an instrument at all -- but at least playable, I hoped.
Digging out my Chopin and Gershwin, I admit I had some trouble accommodating the tiny size of the keyboard I had to work with but with a little effort I eventually discovered that 'OK, this can work.' Dynamics out the window, chords reduced to three notes, a little out of tuneness to contend with, but hey, I was playing wasn't I?
All the way back to Texas (a thirty hour drive, folks!), my fingers were itching to get back to 'Aunt Mary' -- my splendid Mason & Hamlin B -- and play my heart out. Is it any wonder that, once home, I found myself falling in love with Aunt Mary all over again?
Copyright © 29 December 2009 Carolyn Ellis,