Monday, September 7, 2009

Grandma’s PianoOrgan

I had a memory grab me as I walked through the living room today past Grandma’s PianoOrgan. It’s not much to look at anymore. It doesn’t work. Some of the keys are popped up, the finish is cracked and scratched. It has moved with me hither and yon, much to my sons’ chagrin. Countless children have plunked the keys imaging themselves in Carnegie Hall. Beyond being a toy, its only real usefulness is the flat top that holds pictures and books. Well, that and the memories tucked around it.

Today I could hear again the sweet strains of a song never written. It floats above the keys and on the winds of summer. I see myself in my room upstairs awakened by the song’s playful rhythm. I smell fresh cut grass, hear the laughter of the boys next door playing catch and drink of the notion that I am loved. Lovely childhood memory.

“Play some more, Grandma, please.”

“Oh, honey, Grandma’s got work to do. I can’t just sit here all day. You play something.”

But my awkward hands didn’t know a song or the keys or the melody and they plunked along at nothing. In frustration, I turned to a familiar book instead.

Redbird is what Grandma called the song she played. Sort of ragtime, sort of big band, sort of jazz. I don’t think it had words, only the jaunty tune. Its harmony is buried beneath a stone in a Veteran’s cemetery. And in my heart.

Cracked and broken, spilling pictures of yesterday; that’s what I see through my writer’s eyes.


  1. Beautiful memory, Kris. Thanks for sharing. Your writing is lovely and strong. ~Julia

  2. we gotta get thi to teach us how to play piano...if i can do it so can you. and if i cant do it you still can:)