Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Something New

Play it, Sam. Er . . . Mark . . .
My Dad is 89 years old.
Still alert, mentally, but weakened, physically, by a series of mini strokes.
He has made the decision to move to the Seniors’ Lodge in his immediate neighbourhood.
A few steps away geographically, but light years away in living accommodation.
He’ll have daily meals.
Lots (and lots) of company.
And care if and when he needs it.
His room will be comfortable.
But small.
For the past several days, he, his good friend Shirley (who has graciously come over to offer her time), and I have been ‘thinning’.
The by-product of which has been many saunters along memory lane.
I’ve heard stories about Grandpa Stringam (see here), Grandma Stringam and various relatives which will undoubtedly be the topic of future blog posts.
It has been a wonderful – and tender – time.
But, just this morning, I realized something.
This man has been around for all of my 58-plus years.
For 20 of those years, we lived in the same house.
Ate the same meals.
Shared chores, work, games, vacations, disasters, triumphs.
Laundry.
And love.
But still he can surprise me.
This morning, I heard the sound of a calliope.
Seriously.
Coming from Dad’s bedroom.
I dismissed it at first. He was listening to a recording from his endless collection.
Then, the music stuttered.
Started again.
Wait. That sounded more like something . . . live.
I peeked in the open door.
Dad had a musical keyboard on the bed and was leaning over it.
Playing.
I stared.
In the 58-plus years I’ve known him, I have never – even once – seen my dad play the piano.
NOT ONCE!
I’ve seen him ‘encouraging’ the rest of us to practice. (Play! I’ve spent my blood-stained money on you! Play!)
I’ve seen him smile in enjoyment at a piano performance.
But I’ve never seen him actually put fingers to keys.
Huh.
Even at 89 years young, he can still surprise me.
And that’s a good thing.

P.S. The opus he's playing, he proudly told me is "Sitting in the Garden Eating Worms".
video

30 comments:

  1. Hah! Never too old to surprise us!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's incredible, not to have heard him play, ever before ... I agree, it's wonderful that he can still surprise you!

    And I love the name of the tune :)

    Video to follow? Yes, please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aha! The video is up now, and it's wonderful! Oh, the glint of fun in those eyes at the end :) Give your dad a big thumbs up from me, please!

      I recognize that tune, too. Never knew the name but now I do :O)

      Delete
    2. Oh, these talents they keep hidden!
      I loved it when he turned at the end and looked at me. It was so . . . Dad.

      Delete
  3. Hey...I know that one. Does he need a lead singer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He says yes, Delores! Now all you need is a drummer . . . and back up orchestra . . .

      Delete
  4. What a delightful post and great reminder that the mind is always young, always active. You are so blessed to have had your dad for so many years - I am jealous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is such a blessing in our lives, Carol. We lost Mom a long time ago. I guess we hold a little tighter to Dad because of it!

      Delete
  5. Isn't it wonderful to know that your father can still surprise you? He needs a stand for the keyboard, and then who knows what he will play next?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He needs a stand so he can sit! Heehee. Just struck me funny! And you're right. I wonder what he'd come up with ! :)

      Delete
  6. I love that our parents can still surprise us. And that, as parents, we can still surprise our kids. Can't wait to see the video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do hope you were able to get back to see it. It's a star-worthy performance . . .

      Delete
  7. Wow. What a nice surprise! Parents continually surprise us don't they. I wonder what my kids have yet to learn about me. What haven't I told them. lol

    P.S. Glad to be back to the blogging world. At least for today. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the fun of parenting! I'm always telling stories about me, but my Husby is a little less loquacious (oooh! Good word!). Every once in a while he talks about something else he has done. Now all of our kids think he is a secret agent . . .
      So nice to hear from you again, busy lady! Hope all is well with you!

      Delete
  8. I think it is great he surprises you...he seems still full of life! Enjoyed meeting your dad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He brims over with it, Pam! And thank you! :)

      Delete
  9. I've enjoyed all the stories about your dad - he sounds like a wonderful father! How fun that he surprised you :)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lana! I adore him. He still has a lot of shenanigans up his sleeve!

      Delete
  10. Oh. my. Goodness!! what a great surprise.
    Sitting in the garden eating worms....is that the one that goes Nobody loves me everybody hates me, think I'll go and eat worms, long ones, skinny ones, short ones, fat ones...(something, something)...bite their heads off, suck their guts out, throw their skins away, nobody knows how well I eat on worms three times a day. my kids used to sing that when I served spaghetti for dinner and they'd suck up those noodles!
    Learning new skills at 89, you have such a fantastic dad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your version much better. Dad's is: Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, sitting in the garden eating worms. (Yum! Yum!) Big, fat juicy ones. Long skinny greasy ones. Little green fuzzy, wuzzy worms. (Yum! Yum!)
      Yours is a perfect spaghetti-eating song!

      Delete
    2. Ohhh, ladies (& gentleman), my hat is off to you for these wonderful lyrics! Thank you so much!

      Delete
    3. I remembered the "something something" is watch them wriggle and squirm.

      Delete
  11. Bravo! I am pretty sure my dad knows this tune as well! I remember singing the nobody loves me, everybody hates me lyrics as a kid - and I bet I learned them from him! I hope your dad enjoys his new home - and takes the keyboard with him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dads are good for so many things! And thank you for your good wishes. I'll pass them along!

      Delete
  12. I'm reading backwards butting getting caught up! What a wonderful surprise! I know what you're going through has to be bittersweet but you know he'll be in a good place and will feel more comfortable! But I imagine the stories you are hearing are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tell myself those exact things. He's actually looking forward to the move. I think, as his health has worsened, he's worried about being alone . . .
      The stories make everything worth while! :)

      Delete
    2. The more interaction they have the more coherent they will be. I bet he'll love it. He's to being around lots of people having such a big family, workers and his clients he probably will enjoy it quite a bit. We've been talking about maybe 2 or 3 days a week adult day care for mom so she can get a lot more interaction she's just always been so shy.

      Delete
  13. Incredibly I had the same experience. One day out of the blue my dad walked over to the piano and began to play. All the grandkids squealed with delight. Its so nice you still have him. Like the pic of the first presidency on the wall... :)

    ReplyDelete

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