It all started with a ukulele and a used piano, bought at a bargain price from friends moving to California who did not want the expense of moving their old family upright from the east coast across country. They threw in a used ukulele as a thank you for helping them pack and we gave the instruments to our two young, and rather musically inclined, sons so they could fill their time on rainy days. We figured the boys would pretend to have a small rock group and be happy playing in the company of each other. That’s what we thought. Ha!
A couple of years later, during their freshman and sophomore years, we found ourselves on Sunday afternoons setting out for the home of friends with a casserole dinner and a bottle of wine packed and stashed in the back seat of our car – and wondering if long ago we had “done the right thing” with the purchase of piano and ukulele.
It wasn’t that we did not want to visit our friends, although we did feel funny about asking them if we could come over for dinner “if we bring our own meal?” Nor did we not appreciate the sort of music played by our sons and their growing group; yes, by then they had added friends to their own small duet and they now rehearsed in our basement family room on most Sunday afternoons.
It was, instead, the inability to carry out conversations other than by sign language, watching television and only seeing lips moving, talking on the phone and explaining to whoever was on the other end (we never could tell who the callers were) that no one was in pain, or having a party. We wondered; what in the world we had been thinking when we acquired the piano and ukulele?
But most of all, it was the inability to sit still, while the whole house shook with the sounds of rock and roll, that made us pack up our dinner, swallow our pride, call on various friends, and head for other homes with our picnic basket packed with a hot dish and a cold drink.
One nice thing did come about as a result of our visits. We got to know a lot of nice people who, when they casually had said, ”Stop in sometime,” had had absolutely no idea that we actually would – and so soon – and with dinner.
Some of these people, of course, never spoke to us again. They were the ones whose children we invited over to hear our boys play, and who with money saved for college went out and bought electric instruments and turned on the music in their own homes.
All in all though, it turned out to be an interesting season. The boys moved up to electric keyboards and guitars and progressed to the stage where they were actually hired to play for school and community dances and small social events.
A few years later they all graduated and headed for college. The group disbanded, and at that time I could only say “thank goodness!” I did, however, begin to miss the boys and the band – you do grow accustomed to the strangest events.
But the real upside of the end of band era included two things: 1. Every nail in our house that had previously worked itself loose from all the shaking of the floors and walls, was now settling back, and 2. We no longer had to rummage around for recipes for new and interesting meals for friends to whom we previously had brought unexpected Sunday dinners.
Heidi Thurston is a former newspaper journalist, and the author of the adult romance “The Duchess, The Knight and the Leprechaun,” available on Amazon and from Second Wind Publishing.