Sunday, January 24, 2010


In fifth grade I was given the chance to take lessons and join our elementary school band. I envisioned myself playing the flute or clarinet. But when I arrived at the auditions, my teacher informed me that I had the perfect embouchure to play the trumpet. So that's what I chose. I played for years and years, all the way through school. After graduation I attended an all women's college. With no football team-- hence no marching band-- in sight, I gained permission to join the music program at the college a few miles down the road. Fortunately I had been given a beat up old Chevettte when I went to school and it came in handy when I needed to get to practice on time. For years that silver trumpet and the black case that enclosed it travelled with me wherever I went. When my son reached fifth grade I offered him the use of my trumpet in order to take lessons and become part of his elementary school band. After a few weeks of playing, his music teacher called home to say that she tried T on the trombone. And the sound he made on that instrument “was glorious.” For the past few years this very long black case has accompanied my son to school. Though it is awkward to carry he doesn't often complain, I think it has become second nature to carry it to the bus to his lessons twice a week. I harbor no delusions that he will grow up to become a world famous musician, all I have ever wanted was for T to have a chance to learn about music. How it can open your ears, your eyes, and doors to worlds you would haven't imagined were there. Who knows, maybe someday we'll even play a little brassy duet. A trumpet and trombone making what might be considered to some beautiful music.

I haven't lived near the ocean for over ten years, but I keep the sound of it, one of the sounds of it, on our porch here in the mountains. Friends of my parents' gave us this wind chime when we were married, to remind me of home, they said. At first I thought they meant because it sounds like a cow bell - for a while we had cows, though none of them were ever domestic enough for a bell - but they were actually referring to the ocean, the clanging sound of the buoys. And it does sound like a buoy. A lone buoy a long way from the water, where no ships are in danger of jutting rocks. Music to my ocean-missing ears.

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