It is Kelly's birthday and as i've been preparing our celebration
(which means stocking up on favorite ice creams to consume in her honor,
a tradition she observed in memory of her father who could tell you where
to find the best versions in nearly every major city in the country)
a very tender memory came to mind...
First of all
you need to know that her father, Peter
is a gifted muscian.
His favorite instrument is the organ.
Secondly, you must understand that Kelly
was her father's only daughter and
she, too was musically gifted.
Her instrument: the piano.
We all know
on some level or other
how music can change us...
alter one's self like nothing else can.
If you have ever been so moved
then i do not need to explain
(i couldn't, anyway)
that Kelly and her father are connected
on a level so few of us ever experience.
you also need to know
that Kelly is the last person to
say anything about any of her gifts.
She is chatty, very witty
not ashamed to be silly
does not suffer fools gladly
like her father
a BIG tease.
In other words:
they are anything but boorishly serious muscians.
They rarely talked about it.
They both played at home, daily
mostly for fun
Peter favoring any number of traditional American
usually bursting out with boistrous vocals, as well.
Many years ago
when the family was living in San Jose, California
and Kelly was a teenager
(i think she was 16 or 17)
i was visiting for the Christmas holidays and
disappointed that i had to fly back home late Saturday night
before church services on Sunday when
Peter and Kelly were to perform a piano and organ duet.
Happily, there was time for me to join them
for an afternoon rehersal before i had to leave.
Kelly's mother, other aunt and i
went over to the chapel with them.
They asked us to sit in the back
to listen and give feedback re: volume and balance between the two instruments.
They both played a few bars
Peter adjusted something or other on the organ
they tested those few bars again
father and daughter looked up at each other
then back to the sheet music
and muffed the beginning.
they worked out a new cue
This time, Peter smiled
and they continued on...
i do not remember the name of the piece.
It was by one of those classical composers whose name
i should probably remember also.
i'm afraid to try and find and listen to it performed
by anyone else.
That is the word that keeps coming to mind.
Their music filled the cool, dark, reverent space
and it washed over and into each of us.
The three of us sitting in that last pew
could hardly speak we were so ...
i was so happy
to have been a witness to those moments
to be with family
alone, in that space
with Kelly and Peter as i'd never experienced them before.
i can see her now
if she were listening to me tell you this
she would shrug
rattle off the name of the piece
and then quickly ask, with a gleam in her eye,
"When do we get the ice cream?"
Happy Birthday, Kelly!!