Friday, February 25, 2011

The Pied Piper Returns

Yesterday I was at Dad's for a few hours in the afternoon. As I was doing a little 'tidying up' around his place, I noticed he was heading over to the piano, the one his mother gave him when he was around 12.

He didn't say a word. He just started playing!

We had been after him to play a few of his 'favourite' pieces for the past couple of months....but to no avail. He kept saying that his fingers wouldn't do what he wanted them to do.

He started with a 'right-hand' warm-up to get the fingers going.

It took me back to when I was a kid in Halifax in that big house in the north end. It would be a Sunday, as that was usually the only day Dad had off, and after the noon-time dinner.

Dad would go into the living room, get into his 'zone' and start to play the piano. He was like the Pied Piper, as soon as we heard the music we followed that sound, as if by instinct we had no choice! 

Since there were nine kids somewhere all through the house and a grandmother and uncle who lived upstairs, it wouldn't take long for all of us to crowd around Dad at the piano.

A few of us would dance around, depending of course on our age, we wouldn't want to make a fool of ourselves. My grandmother would make it down from upstairs and sit in a comfy chair and begin to sing completely 'out of tune' to the delight of us kids......

But this was a recurring scene that took place regularly in our house and it was so good to see and hear Dad play all the old favs yesterday. Took me right back to a very warm and fun time. Only difference, I had it all to myself! Where were the other dozen?!

And there was Dad 'in the zone' again.......and he's a mere 95 years old!


  1. and not to mention "ME" missing from the picture!

  2. That's wonderful. I'll bet he'll get over to that piano more often now that he's broken the ice.

  3. ...and there is your reward for keeping things in perspective with a calm head yesterday morning and not overreacting 8-) ...your own private 'concert'. Very Nice.

  4. I love your "Dad" stories. What a remarkable man he is. To look at these pictures, you'd never guess he was 95. Happy memories, my friend. You are still building them with your Dad.

  5. How wonderful it must be to play on a piano that you've had virtually your entire life! Talk about an old friend.

  6. How wonderfully awesome for you!

  7. How marvelous for the both of you. Lovely memories.

  8. Since you probably don't have a recording of him playing, it would be nice to see a post with one of these pictures again and a Youtube version of what he is playing.
    I wonder if I'll be able to play the piano at 95? Maybe I should learn first, huh?
    Your Friend, m.

  9. that must be one of your sweetest posts!

  10. what a beautiful heart-felt memory, especially for someone who grew up without music in our home or relatives nearby. Thanks for sharing...your dad, what a Blessing!

  11. He's 95?! What is it with you Canadians looking decades younger than your actual age? I loved looking at the pics you posted of your Dad, it gave proper life to our email conversations x

  12. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes. Do you have any pictures of those gatherings of old?--Inger

  13. Oh JIM. . .what beautiful photos of that beautiful man. . . and your narrative about your Dad and the 'olde days'. . . how awesome, in the full sense of that too often misused word!

    Happy for me to open your blog and find this. Thank you.

  14. Annie,must be all the COLD air!

    Inger, I'll dig around a bit to see if I can find any pics.

    Mark, good idea to record it on video, I'll get my butt in gear to do that!

    Thanks to all for your comments....I'll pass them on to Dad. He'll blush but be thrilled too!

  15. 95?!?!?! There's no way! He looks amazing. And, I love that he's still tickling the ivories. What awesome memories you have connected to that piano.

  16. He looks great for 95!

    That is so cool that he is playing a piano that has been so much a part of his life. And what great pictures to remember the moments by.

    Have a great weekend.

  17. I love this story. I almost felt like I was one of the kids dancing around while he played. Doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy after visiting with dad?

  18. Isn't it wonderful how music holds such fond memories like yours, Jim. Your Dad has not forgotten what is important to him. I'm glad he is playing again.

    Beautiful post!
    be well and happy,

  19. Wonderful story.....priceless memories.

    You know, my daughter does not have a piano yet in her home, but I love it when she comes home and plays and plays and plays. And, you know what? She still makes the same mistakes she did 15 years ago.....The way the mind works for a pianist is an amazing thing.

  20. This is the best thing I have read all week.
    Does he like hugs? Will you give him one for me?

  21. I hear many of life stories in my line of work. This is one of those that I'll remember. While my youth was nothing like what you have described, I think that these are the memories that everyone would like to have for their own. You paint a beautiful picture of a man that you obviously love. Make sure that he knows how much you appreciate him.
    Thanks for sharing.


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