It’s like magic for me, watching my loved ones play an instrument. The notes float by like Disney birds singing a song. It lifts me up and brings a smile to my face each time I hear a chord or a melody created. I suppose it stems from growing up with a Dad who taught himself to play the guitar. There were always weekends full of lazy day guitar strumming. Tunes I would hum from childhood to adulthood, sticking with me like girl scout badges, proud to wear the melodies of Pat Methany, Vince Guarldi, Billie Holiday, The Beatles and so many others. “My Dad plays the guitar”, I would tell my friends with a boastful smile. They thought it was cool. He was hip. His music was like magic and happy days.
My brother played guitar too and clarinet.
Sounds of each instrument molded into my being.
The low quack of the clarinet, the buzz of the reed against his mouth. Each thick note lingered in the air with horn-like quality, exclaiming how music mattered. The quicker pace of my brothers guitar playing, making way for stronger strumming, heavier music my ears sometimes left behind. I told my friends, “My brother plays the guitar”. They thought he was dreamy. They went to see him play in smokey clubs in Los Angeles. The music was strong and smelled of vodka and too many cheap beers. But sometimes he would strum a tune familiar. I would smile and the magic would make my heart light again.
I decided on the flute. Girly. Closest to my soprano voice. Something I never learned to love. But magic was sometimes there when my notes would help others bring harmony together. It was mostly lovely when playing with others. Christmas carols played on high. The uneasy vibratos of young women finding their voice through metal-plated keys. Slightly off-key but always with heart. Years I gave, half of myself to the flute. Wanting to be great at playing an instrument just like the men in my life, but not having the drive or love for the instrument to become great like them.
6. He must be able to play an instrument. My journal outlines the perfect husband.
He picks up the banjo and starts to pick. I love that there’s an instrument in my home. I love the sound it makes. It’s magic. It makes me smile. He spends two days reading and learning and practicing the notes over and over. He tells me he will learn Pretty Flowers for me. I get weak in the knees and decide to marry him. All over again. I haven’t the pleasure yet of knowing the way the banjo sounds deep and live. I know I will soon. Right now it’s the pluck, pluck, pluck of the strings and a distant familiar sound from music I’ve heard. The banjo makes me want to live free on a farm, hanging clothes on the line, smiling at children running around in the summer grass. The banjo makes me think of home-brew and sun teas and lazy weekends, singing. Memories to hopefully come. Memories just a dream right now. He sits in the chair plucking away and Ellie toddles over to watch him. She smiles at me and then looks up to her Daddy making music, at the magic Daddy is making.
– joining Heather for Just Write. (An exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments).