Friday, July 2, 2010

Chapter 18: After Piano Liaisons

      When I was a little boy, it was our family’s Sunday routine to drive over fifty miles to attend church, and after services were over (at which point I'd most sincerely thank God) we'd head back home—stopping halfway to visit my maternal grandmother in Indianola.  Truly, this is when I learned what it was to be mind-numbingly bored.

     I was the last-chance child of parents pushing forty.  My youngest cousin was an adult.  So after going over the river and through the snow, my only playmate was an old upright piano.  The combination of bored handsy child and unsupervised access to grinning yellowed ivory yielded dissonant clusters and anti-melodies that eventually prodded mater and pater to have me take piano lessons.  …to at least lessen the blows' impact.

     What I remember about those piano lessons is that—especially in the warm late spring, summer, and early autumn—it felt like I was in prison.  Every time I would hear through my practice room window gleeful screams of laughter or hear the dull refracted thump of a basketball, the keys would become all the more resistant to my touch.  Soon after, it was more about lasting through the remaining hour-long minutes left to do on my stretch.

     After serving a three-year term, I pled my case before the parole board (a.k.a. my father).  Recidivism being what it is, by my sophomore year in college, I found myself back inside—this time serving a life sentence. …we are talking music, right?

     This song is one I composed while watching a DVD of A&E's "Napoleon" miniseries.  I had entertained releasing an entire album of piano sketches like "…Liaisons".  On SIDzCarbonatedMilk I: "Please Don't Harmonica", I felt it needed something soft and relaxing to serve as a cerebral fingerbowl—after all the booming and occasional frenetic weirdness.  I concluded the 17 song project with an acoustic piano piece titled "Last Stop Su's"—based on a more than amorous short story I wrote about my wife being the last stop on my delivery route.  [Note:  I later realized that the actual "Last Stop Su's" was a different song all together, but I liked the title at that position on the playlist, so I switched titles.]

This one serves as dramatic relief, or maybe a Funk-napkin of sorts.  Uhh…you got a little something…there.  There.  You got it…much better.