Archive | 10:31 am

Just So You Know, We’re Here

24 Dec


Ma n’ I escaped for a bit across the bridge to Silverdale yesterday…Harriet swimming along the roads while the wet spit down all along the way.

…The goal was a favorite antique store there, which is like almost none other you have seen, in that it is meticulously curated like a museum, with painstaking detail, in theme coordinated rooms that seem to stretch on into infinity. A perfect place to brows hours at a time, on a rainy day.¬†

Stepping through the double doors yesterday, a host of smiling faces turned to us, as apparently the shop was holding an Open House Holiday event, full of sing-along sheet music carols, a large round table of spiced cakes and breads and cookies, several silver samovars of hot teas and coffees, and in the front, by the cash register, a woman of anywhere between her mid-to-late sixties, playing on a baby grand piano.

…The atmos was perfect. Ma n’ I grinned, and wandered and sang along with the playing carols, listening to the little kid voices and the older ones joining in at large, over by the food tables.

So it went for upwards of an hour, the pianist taking a mini break somewhere near to then, as Ma n’ I reached the book room. Finding some especially enjoyable toys to rummage through there, we were still at it as the music began to play again. But this time it sounded different. The soft carols and retro Santa songs had been spiced up a bit with some pomp and circumstance, akin to throwing the notes at you with speed and furious purpose. And both Ma n’ I stopped for a second with — I swear to you — the same look on our faces, as I rounded the corner to look at her.

“Is it just me or doesn’t this sound all the world like Gram?” I asked with this shit-eatin’ grin on my face, to which Ma grinning equally hard started to giggle.

…Let it be known, that EVERY Christmas season, our family would gather ’round Gram and sing along as she would play on the big upright in the living room. And what must be noted about this is that Gram was never what one would call a “classically trained interpreter of music.” I think because she “felt” it too hard. Gram tended to play the piano like a person kneading a good yeast dough. She would basically beat the living shit out of it. Sure, she could have occasional moments of subtlety, but they were few and far in between…and they were also mostly only used for set-up. Like her favorite hymn of all time, “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

…It used to crack us all up when she would play or rehearse that for Church services, because it would begin so wond’rous and and polite, with hope of better days to come, with less angst and hate in the world. But then all of a sudden, at about mid verse two, something would start to happen with the music. Every so many chords and the next would hit heavier than the others did…and then, there it would be again. Gram’s posture would alter, she’d lean into the keys a bit, until eventually her back and shoulders taunt with all the power she could muster, she would launch into the final chorus with the intensity of a Calvary charge…the whole freakin’ piano would sway with the effort, the knickknacks and pictures on it, quivering with fear for their lives, as this 130 pound woman would commence to beat the living shit out of the innocent instrument. Her intent was never a mystery, here…and the fury of it, if put into words, would be something along the lines of: “GodDAMN it! ALL you people need to just SHUT THE HELL UP, stop being assholes, and learn to LIVE TOGETHER, or I’m gonna kick ALL your asses!”

Subtlety wasn’t really Gram’s Hallmark.

…What was amazing, standing in that little room yesterday though, was the very specific noted alteration in the styles of the music’s playing. The soft, jolly version we had walked in on, and the post-break ferocity to follow. A very specific kind of ferocity too…one not easily replicated…with the absolutely perfect timing of just exactly where she would have placed it, with exactly the same amount of audacity and spank of the keys.

…Which only follows on the heels of a season this year where Ma n’ I have had an amazingly large number of such “coincidences” occur to us while we have been wandering streets and shops together this season. Everywhere we have turned this Holiday, we have been shown little reminders, at perfectly placed moments…mostly quiet and inauspicious things that could only mean something to us…which would occur or materialize suddenly in sight, just around a corner, on the next shelf, with the following radio song, waiting for our coffee order, milling down a street, going on a road trip, or wandering through an antique store.

…In fact this is the SECOND time within a week that an antique store has slapped us across the face with such an obvious homage in plain sight. A “coincidence” not to be lost in the fact that Gram and Gramp once used to own and run one for themselves…so has become a natural place we tend to pick up sticks of specific memories by the bunches. But these have not just been the average, “Oh look, they used to have this lantern in the kitchen, by the window seat…’member?” It’s been more like, “Um, was it just me, or did you just get this weird sort of feeling of –?” “–Yep.”

…Which coincides with my own personal theory that there are no “coincidences”…that everything happens for a reason (no doubt to raise a sizable debate in another blog), but even more specifically meaning that: It’s the Holiday season…a very huge deal in my family. Always has been always will be. And even when we are apart, we always figure out some way to get together in little pockets and groupings and phone calls to get as close to “being there” with one another as we can. And apparently, its really important for an uber gregarious pianist we are all related to, to let us know…as we move into the usual family tradition of Christmas Eve Smorgesbord today…that the “We’s” up there, are still very much here with us all…celebrating right along, just like they’ve always done.

And it makes me feel damn good to know it.

That’s all.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone ūüôā


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