ozarque (ozarque) wrote,

How I spent my Sunday vacation...

I've worked seven-day weeks my whole adult life, all fifty-plus years of it, but when I finally turned 70 I decided I was old enough to start taking things a bit easier on Sundays. I've been trying to do that, and I'm getting better at it gradually.

One of the things I enjoy most on Sundays is wallowing in the news broadcasts on television. By noon yesterday, however, the word "news" had been abruptly redefined to mean "all O.J. Simpson, all the time," and every single news channel we have did nothing but O.J. at us the whole day -- and the whole night -- long. The programming was O.J. Simpson, commercials, and -- every minute or two -- nonsensical banners and doodads labeled something like "Breaking News!" or "News Alert!" followed by no news at all. That put an end to my news-watching almost instantly, and sent me off to C-Span, where I was able to listen to a set of Democratic-presidential-candidate stump speeches at a political fish fry. [Barack Obama's was, in my opinion, a very good stump speech, very well delivered.] But once that was over, I found myself less than interested in watching the candidates wander around in the crowd, and there I was, on a Sunday afternoon, with time on my hands.

So I took advantage of that to do something I wish I had time to do a lot more often; I sat down and played the piano for an hour and a half, maybe two hours, while George played along on the harmonica and our little dog listened respectfully. The song list will have you doing LOLs.... here's a representative sample:

"Down The River Of Golden Dreams"
"In The Gloaming"
"Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine"
"I Wandered Today To The Hill, Maggie"
"Danny Boy"
"In My Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown"
"Bill Bailey"

My mother played spectacularly good piano, including cocktail-lounge piano and stand-up piano and honky-tonk piano, and I learned everything I know about playing the piano from her, except that I never got past the style Ozarkers call "Sunday School piano." In that style -- and only in that style -- I can play hundreds .... maybe thousands ... of songs you've probably never heard of. My father used to wake me up at three o'clock in the morning and make me come downstairs in my bathrobe and play piano for his poker parties; he'd rather have had my mother doing that, needless to say, but he didn't have the same authority to order my mother around that he had with me, so he had to make do.

I did take piano lessons as a child, but being able to play easily by ear by the time I was three ruined me for Real Piano forever. I never practiced anything that my piano teacher assigned, and then when I'd play the assigned pieces during my weekly lesson she'd say, "Excellent! I can tell that you've been practicing every single day!" Uhuh.

I suppose I should be grateful to O.J. Simpson, because George and I had a wonderful time musicking yesterday afternoon.
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