There was always music in the little yellow rambler on 66th Way. The most prominent piece of furniture, aside from the gold floral sofa, was the Wurlitzer in our living room. I learned to read music sitting on its bench, before I learned to read words. Also in that room was our hi-fi. Remember the hi-fi in the wooden cabinet? My brother had a blue and white electric guitar. And my father had a banjo.
After we returned the dinner dishes to the cupboards, we retired to the living room, set aglow with mediterranean-style lamps. Mom would situate herself in front of the organ, flipping through one of her preferred books. I wish I could remember more of her favorites, but Hello Dolly comes to mind, as does Bicycle Built for Two. Sometimes we would sing. As the evening wore on, I would lie down with my pillow and a blanket by her feet bouncing rhythmically on the pedals, and fall asleep.
But now and then Dad would bring out the banjo. He kept it under his bed in a black case. It was a beauty with mother-of-pearl frets. Dad let me blow into the tuning pipe while he turned the tuners, shortening and lengthening the strings. I learned all the words to King of the Road sitting on the edge of Dad’s bed while he strummed. He wasn’t very good at it, but that never mattered to me. We sang slow, stopping and restarting every few bars.
Dad would have loved this guy.
Peace . . .
PS. Thank you, Twindaddy, for this little walk down memory lane. I’ve enjoyed the fresh air and exercise.