Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

This is my Dad in what must have been approximately 1934.

What can I say about my father? I believe him to be the kindest human being on the planet. He is gentle, friendly, non-judgmental, and very intelligent. He has always reminded me of Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird."

My father is a musically gifted person. He tried to teach me to play the piano when I was very young. I wanted to please him, but I had no ability or interest, and I struggled to play even the simplest pieces in the first few pages of my music primer.

Then one day I turned to the back pages of the music book and noticed that the pieces there had many, more complicated notes than the beginner's pages I was trying to play from.

"Can you play this?" I asked my father, handing him the music book open to one of these fancy pages.

My father sat down and played what to me was a wonderful, complex piece of music. It was a child's music book, so it probably wasn't really difficult. But I was very impressed that someone could just look at that page with all the black dots on it and play exactly what was printed there at a glance, without even practicing.

And then the thought occurred to me: "Why am I struggling so hard to play something simple and boring, when I could be listening to someone else effortlessly play something so beautiful?"

And, to my poor father's chagrin, I have never played another note since. But I have certainly enjoyed the glorious church music he introduced me to, by Bach, Haydn, Handel and Mozart.

My father often says he can't draw at all, so I figure we complement each other. He admires my artwork, and I admire his understanding of music.

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