Friday, September 5, 2008
Make ratatouille. Zukes, tomatoes, herbs, hot peppers from my north forty inches. Eggplant and sweet peppers from Dervaes.
But wait, I have something to whine about. I see a piano moving truck in front of my new neighbor's house and it brings back memories of my sad, sad, sad childhood. No, I wasn't beaten nor was I verbally abused. We weren't poor. There was no madness in the family, at least not at that time. But yes, we had no piano.
In a family of tin ears, I could carry a tune. I had a bit of a talent, I could play by ear. But there was no way these easy-listening-radio-station-never-bought-a-record parents of mine were going to invest hard-earned lucre on a musical instrument. Every one of my friends had pianos, half of them complained bitterly about lessons. All I had was a bad case of piano envy.
Fast forward a couple years. In the fourth grade, our school offered "band", I think it was called. We were sent home with permission slips, a check mark next to the instrument we wanted to play, along with instructions on how to buy or rent said instrument.
I wanted to play the violin! Well, guess how much that cost. Instead, my mother found a bargain through a friend of a friend on a clarinet. Allegedly a clarinet. It was not made of wood, oh no. This clarinet was made on some kind of steel or iron, actually looked like one of my corroded sewer pipes with a mouthpiece welded on top. To this day I've never seen another like it. I think she got it for $5 -- or maybe the people paid my mom to haul it away.
So I would spend the next two years, looking like those illustrations of the north wind, puffing out my cheeks and blowing for all I was worth to get a noise out of this devil's instrument. Ever hear a goose try to honk out the Blue Danube? Oh, friends pretended sympathy, but I knew they snickered. Them with the pianos, the violins, and the wood clarinets in velvet-lined cases. I was hoping to annoy my parents so much, they'd spring for the real thing. But who was I kidding -- they didn't care. They just cranked up the volume on the Mantovani. http://www.mantovani-orchestra.com/