Thursday, 19 May 2016

Remembering The Music

Music has always been a part of my life. I can vividly remember my Mom, sitting at her piano, playing and singing away in the back parlour of our small house in East Vancouver. I have this deeply permanent vision of my Dad, sitting in a smoke filled living room, surrounded by neighbours and friends, a Rye and 7-Up beside him, and his guitar resting in his lap, intermittently played between jokes and chatter.

Of course we had the typical records; 45's, LP's, even 78's. I can rarely recall a time when we didn't have something musical near at hand. I learned the dreaded recorder in grade school. I learned to play guitar and bagpipes in my early teens. My brother Adam became much more proficient at bagpipes than I; he still plays them today, and very well I might add. My brother Peter sings in a Barbershop Quartet, both competitively and for fun. Jimmy loves karaoke and does musical theatre. And Matthew has always had a terrific voice.

As children, whether in my Mom's home or my Dad's home, we sang. Not constantly, but enough that I remember. It was a wonderful distraction on long drives with a car load of kids. I can still remember all 12 of us crammed into our International truck, my Dad instructing us to start singing almost as soon as we left the driveway. I remember some of those songs, we children belting them out at the top of our lungs.

I miss music these days. I listen to it now and then, music on the radio or through my cable system. But it's not the same as my younger days. When we get together, my brother's and I will sing now and again. And Jimmy does his annual karaoke party in Edmonton each year, where we go and sing out in the countryside, on his property north of the city. But it's not with me anymore, in a visceral sense. These days music seems more of an adjunct rather than a core part of my life.

Perhaps it is my guitar. When I left Carla, I left my guitar behind. In the last few years of our marriage I played it rarely. Carla played hers a bit more often, but I just seemed to have lost the desire in those years. I wouldn't mind having it around me now, so that, if the whim hit me, I might take it and strum a few chords, or even just pluck an odd string or two, just to remind me of what I once played.

I doubt I could relearn it all. And even if I did, there will come a time soon when my physical condition would stop me from moving my arms and fingers as needed. My fine motor coordination is failing. But still, it might be nice, just to sit and feel the vibration, hear the sound, and remember the music.

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