Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Early Start...

Some years back, i'd say at least thirty, give or take a couple, i was home from school sick. At that time, my grandparents lived with us, my dad's parents. They were good days, lots of good food (which i didn't appreciate that much at the time) and good talks. Having your grandparents available day after day was a good thing for a kid of 10 or 11, they were full of stories of their childhoods...life growing up on the Kansas plains or while Oklahoma was still just a territory, not quite an official state. I digress.

We are doing some school today, as usual. And, per diem, i have some light music on. Normally i have the classics ...Vivaldi, Brahms, Saint Saens...but today, for some reason, i thought, "i won't some Christmas music." So we gots us some carols wafting through the 68* November breeze.

'Silver Bells' begins...and without fail, the opening strains of that one song takes me back...thirty years ago...to a day, not unlike today, maybe a little colder...

We had a big house, it was tri-level, not three stories, but three levels. My grandparents had a room downstairs on the lowest level for obvious reasons. There was their room, a den with a fireplace, a bathroom, and an entry hall area. The next level up was the kitchen, living room, and dining room, upstairs was all bed and bathrooms.

Like i said, i was sick this one day. I don't remember for sure, but it might have been the time i had chickenpox...i was SICK. My parents both worked, so there was always at least one of my grandparents around, this particular day...it was my blessed grandma.

She was one of those women who had aged into a graceful pleasant plumpness most grandmothers do, and in my opinion, should. She was soft, all over, from her cottony white curls to her dusty voice to her requisite cotton dress, apron, and house slippers. She worked tirelessly, to supply her tidy house with clean laundry, beautiful comfort food and above all...love, the kind that ONLY grandma's who have built years of EARNING it could give.

I was laying in the den by the fire. I had been sleeping, that kind of feverish restless sleep you do while sick. I remember through miasmic semi-conciousness hearing a beautiful melody that was somewhat familiar even through the fog of cogniznance. As i became more and more aware of the now nostalgic surroundings that make home...home...i realized that Grandma had taken a break from the tedium of daily life and settled in to her organ in the living room. She had played piano and organ every Sunday at church since she was a girl, and thus...played beautifully.

Whether there was sheet music or not (i doubt there was) those dulcet tones effortlessly, flawlessly floated through our house like chords of strength to the weary bones of my soul. I remember just lying there, like one of those compressed sponges slowly filling with the ambrosial warmth of Christmas wassail. As her fingers caressed the keys of that tired old organ, they massaged my ten year old spirit as if kneading a loaf of the bread dough she made into enchanting buttered top dinner rolls.

So now, without fail...every time i hear Silver Bells, it takes me back to that day, and my Grandma...and love.

5 comments:

Skybag said...

That's beautiful, Piper. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

We have some awesome memories of that "big ole house," don't we? Family dinners, parties with close friends and just a lot of sweet fellowship. She was the Grandmother of Grandmother's and she loved every one of her children's children. I can almost hear her sweet voice floating through the air as she sang, "How Great Thou Art." I tell everyone I can that I had the world's mother-in-love.

Anonymous said...

How that does fill me with memories as well - visiting my Grandma's in Sterling, Colorado on Christmas Eve, strolling through lightly falling snow in the City Square past the beautiful Episcopal church with gorgeous large stained-glass windows, their doors open to bring in attendees to the Evening Service, the organ playing a mirade of carols - Silver Bells, always one of my favorites ! HONEY

Buck said...

That's a great memory, Jay.

Alan said...

Neat! Memories like that remind me not to take family for granted. Thanks Jay!