Category Archives: Daily Prompt

Healing Properties of Music

I knew in an instant, I had to honor this subject by writing a little more than just a quick quip.  You see, music supported the household in which I was raised.

OurOldFarm

Dad’s 1st Home
Built by Granpa
Circa1900

Dad was born in 1918, in a cabin which his father built on their land in Knowlton, Wisconsin.  The second son, third of eight children born to Polish immigrants.  Dad grew up like any of the other boys in that community, in that time – he was full of ambition and dreams, and he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up, a professional musician, an accordionist.  

This dream was conceived when the family attended a wedding where an Italian accordionist mesmerized the guests with his unrestrained version of Flight of the Bumblebee.  Dad was stung (sorry, I just couldn’t resist the pun)  by the desire to “be” that accordion player in his own life.

There was a big problem in attaining Dad’s dream though — how to afford buying the expensive instrument, and if by some chance he acquired it, learning to play it would present a new problem. There would be no money for lessons.  

Call it fate, destiny, luck or just coincidence,  there was to be a musical talent contest at the upcoming Fall Fair, and the grand prize was a gleaming, brand new accordion!

Strapping his thinking cap on securely, Dad had to figure out how he was going to win a musical talent contest when he had no musical instrument to play, other than maybe spoons or milk jugs, and he didn’t think those could produce a fine enough tune to win the contest.  He had to solve this dilemma, his future, his life, the lives of his future wife and children depended on this talent contest!

Harmonica1920

A circa 1920’s
Harmonica

What kind of instrument could he afford with limited monies from glass bottle refunds at the local general store and learn to play it in a matter of weeks? A  HARMONICA, of course!

When Dad saved enough money from the bottle refunds, he set out to purchase his brand new harmonica.  Between school, work, and chores on the farm, Dad taught himself how to play the harmonica without any instructions nor guidance from anyone.  He was a quick learner, but more importantly, Dad had a natural talent for music, one which some of his six children inherited.  I was NOT one of the naturally blessed musical offspring.

accordion-07

FIRST PRIZE!!

I do not recall what melody Dad said that he played for the contest, I do not recall what other talents he competed against or what songs the others played, but, my Dad won first prize!

From that winning day forward, Dad taught himself how to play the accordion, how to read music, and taught his three brothers how to play as well.  They formed a band and would play at local events, parties, and social gatherings.

DadUnclAJRichy

Dad, Uncle A.J. &
Cousin Richey

As they matured, and their local notoriety grew, (by this point, the grown brothers  were living in Chicago) they invested in their own music school with TWO locations!   They continued to entertain and play at many, many events.

Dad continued playing his accordion, well into his 80’s, I personally believe that he lived for the music.  He stopped playing when he could no longer physically manage to carry the cumbersome accordion, amplifier, and paraphernalia to each event.  He died three months later, at home, in his bed.

During one of my occasions sitting with him as he lay dying, he asked me to “..turn that music up..”  There was no music playing, no radio, no television.  I proceeded to turn a radio on and turned the music up loud.  “No, no, no, that’s not the music, the OTHER music, turn the OTHER music up.”  Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that what my Dad was hearing was not music from this realm.  I could not enhance the vibrations nor bring him closer to it, he had to do that on his own.

A private nurse/caregiver watched over him the last night of his life as he quietly slipped away to her singing hymns in Polish.  He followed the music home –  for the last time.  

DadYoungAccrdn

Dad with his accordion
Circa 1930’s

Love and miss you Dad.

Music is still a constant companion in my life. I believe it can be healing.

Music touches our spirits, invigorates long-lost memories, and for a moment, however brief, can make us feel young again — as witnessed in this very touching video from Youtube:

The Daily Post – Music

BAR_LINE

A Disappointing Lesson

© Fons Reijsbergen

Disappointments often result in learning great lessons.

This brings me to memories of when my sons were avid hockey players, playing for AAA teams. Winning and losing were valuable lessons they learned as well as “how” to win or lose, courteously. Being a part of a team taught them camaraderie, responsibility, and a desire to improve through hard work. Nevertheless, when a season would end without going to the finals, or winning the annual championship, they learned disappointment.

At my age, I have encountered many disappointments. They have tempered me — caused me to re-evaluate my desires and goals.

Last year’s earth-shattering disappointment came when my son died. Disappointment of cancer having claimed his life, taught me many, many, many lessons that only those of us who have lost a child can know, or understand. Since then, I seek simplicity in my life. I cherish moments with clarity.

© Swoosieque

© Swoosieque

I also continued to enjoy working in our large yard — 1.3 acres. But this year, last month, while working in the yard, I damaged my neck and shoulder. My neck had already been in bad shape since a very bad car wreck in ’96, but, my attitude was that as long as I was not paralyzed, I was going to thankfully “use” my body. And, I have used my body, pushed it hard, and reveled in the pleasure of seeing the beautiful results of my gardens.

Grouchy_Sitting_On_BenchMy first reaction to this nearly debilitating pain was anger. I am not the type of person who enjoys sitting. I would much rather be outside, cultivating, communing with Nature. I tried doing small outdoor chores which only aggravated my painful condition even more. Finally, when the pain was intense enough to wake me from a deep sleep every night for a week, with pain akin to someone sticking a huge knitting needle through the cap of my shoulder, through to my neck, I surrendered to the fact that I must take time to heal.

Not being able to do things requiring the use of two arms has limited even my indoor activities. My home is collecting dust, my carpets need vacuuming. I am not at ease in my home, find it difficult to relax if the house is not spotless. I am, however, learning through the disappointing limitations of my injury, that I must accept these temporary situations, and put my priorities in proper perspective.  I must accept, and respect the rules laid out for proper healing, no matter how long it will take.

GardenBirdsPatience is a life-long lesson for me. This time, however, through all of the accumulated lessons from disappointment, I am learning to live-in-the-moment rather than dwell upon what I would rather be doing. This is one of the greatest lessons I will learn from disappointment — to live in the moment. To see and enjoy the beauties of Nature as I sit on my patio, watching the birds eat at our feeders, and bathe joyfully in their baths.

©Swoosieque

When my lesson is completed, and my neck/shoulder are healed, I will be more grateful than ever to return to transcription, and working in the yard.

 

For the Daily Post: Disappointment

BAR_LINE