|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.
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.
But still he can surprise me.
This morning, I heard the sound of a calliope.
Coming from Dad’s bedroom.
I dismissed it at first. He was listening to a recording from his endless collection.
Then, the music stuttered.
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.
In the 58-plus years I’ve known him, I have never – even once – seen my dad play the piano.
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.
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".