Thursday, February 21, 2008

Anna. A Perfect Day.

As I state in my last essay I live with Jack and Alice and their kids and grandkids, although I am not related to them. They have provided me with a large bedroom and very large bath for no charge.

Now Jack is an excellent piano player. At 75 he may have slowed down a bit, but his piano playing is still great. He used to give programs around the city, but now concentrates on giving programs at retirement centers. He plays the classics, but also has a great love for "parlour" music. As he explaned to me "parlour" music was music played in gatherings at homes before the development of the radio and phonograph. Each of the guests in a home would perform on the piano or sing a familiar song for the others.

Today these songs are mostly forgotten, but when I hear Jack play them they are very pretty. When he does a program at a retirement home he devides the songs into different categories. Operetta, neapolitan, Irish, sentimental songs and hymns. He can play over 150 songs by ear )without printed music). Songs like "Because", "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life," "Seranade" from The Student Prince, "Anazing Grace." "I'll Take you Home Again Kathleen" and many more. He always sens a list to the retirement home a week or so in advance so the residents can pick their favorites all of which he has arranged. He throws in a couple of Bach Inventions, what ever those are, which are very diffisult, to start with; he says in case their are a couple of Bach fans there. I think for a little show off. Well whose perfect.

I have gone to three of these programs, and notice one kind of strange thing. He always closes his program with a song called "A Perfect Day."

Jack is a light sleeper and with some recent health problems, sometimes wakes at night and plays the piano for an half hour or so. He is always careful when he does this to make sure the playing will not disturb Alice or me. 5 days ago I was in bed but not asleep when I heard a soft knock on my bedroom door. The door openened slightly and I heard Jack whisper "Kid, are you asleep." He calls me either "kid" or "man". I was not asleep but said nothing. The door shut and I could hear Jack going down the stairs to his huge grand piano. It was a cloudless night and the moon would shine through the giant oak trees that surround our house. Very softly I heard Jack making some slight changes to the pieces he was playing. Then I recognized he was playing "A Perfect Day". I laid in my bed feeling secure and cared for (I should say loved, but I am still immature enough to let that word not come easily.)

On the table next to my bed was one of his programs sheets that had the words of several songs including "A Perfect Day."

Well, this is the end of a perfect day,
Near the end of a journey, too;
But it leaves a thought that is big and strong,
With a wish that is kind and true.
For mem'ry has painted this perfect day
With colors that never fade,
And we find at the end of a perfect day
The soul of a friend we've made.

Yes, I know this is corny (or I have enough sense to say corny since this will be read by college professors).

I have looked at these words several times since that perfect day for me. And I wonder if the writer of the song and Jack might have a different meaning for "day" than I or young people have?

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