Tuesday, June 24, 2008

He doesn't always know I'm listening...

Not often, but sometimes Bob walks in the door and goes straight to the piano. Maybe he has heard a song on the radio & he wants to play the notes on the piano himself. It might be an "oldie", a song from our teen years that has a special meaning. But more than likely, it is some Southern Gospel song or a song from our church hymnal.

He doesn't play often, but I always enjoy it so much when he does. He has a special touch that I would recognize without ever seeing him sit on the piano bench.

I remember him telling of the many piano lessons he had to take as a young boy growing up in West Virginia. His mother had found out who was the best teacher in town & she made sure her children took lessons from Mr. "P". They laugh about it now but at the time I'm sure it wasn't funny--the time that the teacher made inappropriate remarks! Mom was told & she knew that the teacher was the best in town and she didn't want to loose him as a teacher! So from then on, she sat in on the lessons, holding a hard bottomed purse in her lap...ready to swing into protective action...just in case! After that Mr P was on best behaviour & the children learned more about music than they wanted to know.

All five of her children took piano lessons, but Bob was the one that had the "ear for music", or as I think of it, a "gift from Heaven". He is the one that can listen to a song & tell you what key it is written in, can have you sing or hum a tune & he can scribble the notes out and play it back for you. Yet the years of lessons from Mr. P were not wasted as they gave him the basics of timing and key changes that matter so much in the songs he plays.
If you think about it, several of the Thompson cousins are gifted muscially and very accomplished pianists. I remember Grandmother Thompson plinking away at the piano keyboard & loving to sing. Maybe that is where the gift of music comes from down through the family lines. It certainly doesn' t come from my side of the family!

Saturday evening usually means that Bob will decide what songs he wants to play for our church prelude & offertory. He selects a song that will be appropriate for our other musical instruments to accompany him and will also have a special meaning for that church service. I love to hear him run through the music, letting me have a little preview of what others will hear later on.

Once in a while he will ask if there is something I would like for him to play for offertory. He knows most of my favorites which are standards such as "My Wonderful Lord" and "How Great Thou Art". And then once in a while he will surprise me and play "Jesus Will Walk With Me" without even asking...and I know he is playing it for me.

He's my favorite pianist! Oh I know others are much more accomplished, spend hours and hours each day practicing, and play with more gusto & flourish. And I greatly enjoy hearing their music and have a collection of Gospel CD's. Probably because I know the man and that he plays from his heart, but I never tire of hearing him "tickle the ivories"!


Lady J said...

What a beautiful tribute to Bob! I too enjoy his playing. I have to admit I hate the "natural" notes when we change from sharps to flats. That messes me up everytime. Think about that the next time you hear that trumpet mess up! :)

Sheila said...

By the way, Janet, I thought you did great Sunday morning & did NOT notice you messing up! I know you love all of the key changes! :) Our little band sounds great & really adds to the services.

Denise said...

I know exactly how you feel. I enjoy it when Leighton sets down to play too.

I remember "Great-Grandmother" playing the piano. She definitely loved music. I remember her sometimes just singing out songs or choruses no one else knew at church (Tabernacle). That was embarassing as a young teenager. LOL But now....I'd love to hear her do that again. :)

What would we do without music in our family? :)

Sherry Gates said...

You feel like Bob is the best because he is! My mom says he helps her sing better! I hope Abigail can play her flute while she is there. I am sure she would love the priviledge of playing while he does! Do they still have any of those tapes of his playing? My mom had one but I think we wore it out!

LadyD said...

Hi Sheila,
You have a beautiful family and a lovely garden! I teach piano in California, have 2 Grandsons & do worship at our church.
God Bless,
~ LadyD

Nettie's Nook said...

He is my favorite also!! I could listen to him for hours if he could last that long! I have often too thought that maybe some of the music in the family might have come from Grandma Julie. I know that everytime we went to see her at Sunset Towers she would always make me play her a song and make Harold & I sing. Bob will NEVER know how much his music has lifted me up just at the right time. You are so blessed to be able to have hime sernade you!!

Dorcas said...

I remember different times when we visited your Church listening to your husband play the piano. It was always so beautiful and just flowed along so smoothly!

Steve Hight said...

Sheila, thanks for your thoughts and insights about Bob and his piano playing. I have always enjoyed hearing him, and I agree that he has a special touch. As to his hearing a song and writing down the notes: How many times did I kneel beside him before church and sing a new chorus in a WHISPER, only to have him write down the notes as I went through it the second time and then play it as if he'd known it all his life! He is truly a special pianist, and does a great job for both the congregational singing and for special songs.

LadyD said...

Wow! What a gift! Sounds like he is blessed w/ a natural ear to music! Do you have any audio or video clips? I am most impressed and blessed to meet you!