like a flood
of concertos, minuets
and a Chopsticks duet
on a shared piano bench with my friend
And our feet were dangling
(too short to touch the pedals)
And my fingers
of songs I played
wearing that Strawberry Shortcake dress
I see Grandpa again
dancing with his cane in the doorway
while I tap out
“King of the Road.”
Memories swirl with melodies
and the soundtrack
of my life floods my soul
My heart quickens
and I remember:
“It’s in her blood.”
Her Grandma Lee taught music, as she moved that beast of a piano from classroom to classroom on a cart in the 1960s.
And her Great-Grandma Taylor played piano during the silent movies in the 1920s — adagio, or allegro or fortissimo at just the right time. She didn’t stop playing until she was 84 years old, when she sat at the organ for the last time on a Sunday morning in that southern Iowa church.
And there were others, like great-great-great Grandpa Wallace, a music professor who would take a melodeon in a cart pulled by horses so he could offer music lessons to country folks.
Life unfolded around our pianos.
When sisters Juliann or Lynda came home from college. I’d beg them, ple-eease sit by me on the bench! Big sister would play the right hand, while I’d play the left — dramatically plunking the keys like professional pianists. We’d throw heads back in laughter, then have to stop because we couldn’t see through the Joy-Tears.
And I remember our friends from Brazil, who came to visit every few years. They spoke Portuguese; we spoke English. But it was there, ’round that piano, where we’d transcend a language barrier.