For my dad, life was all about those moments when his family was under the same roof making music together. It was about Friday nights with the entire family gathered around the same piano that now graces our living room and that my own children grew up with. It was my parents’ first piece of furniture after they got married in 1948.
Those Friday nights were chaotic and loud with my mom on the piano, my dad on trombone, my brother on trumpet, one sister on saxophone, and the other on flute. I competed amidst the din on my tiny violin. The sound was horrendous and unsatisfying, and we were reluctant participants.
For my dad it wasn’t about the sound. It was about a different kind of harmony—the kind that occurs when everyone is present and accounted for, under the same roof, all in, and playing the same song at the same time, however badly. I didn’t understand then why those fleeting moments made him so happy. Why they made him smile a certain smile. I do now.
We had that kind of weekend, with boxes flying off the truck and into the first house that has felt like home since we left Montana nine years ago. There was chaos and loud laughter and intense discussions about what should go where. Friends brought pizza and salad and gathered around the piano with us for music and antics.
We managed to assemble the table and find the silverware in time for a Mother’s Day brunch of huckleberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. We joined hands and all sang the same tune at the same time under the same roof (two by Facetime).”We thank thee for the sunshine, we thank thee for the rain—for food, for home, for life, for love, we thank thee, Lord, again.”
In my heart, every family member was present and accounted for, under the same roof, all in, and playing the same song at the same time, for generations past and generations to come—brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. And I smiled my father’s smile.
May 17, 2017