...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


the accordion...+ remembering my grandmother

My grandmother had this big plain looking box 
that I always thought was just a suitcase...

Until one day she opened it up for me
and inside
was a sparkly gold-embellished accordion!

 It was seriously schnazzy.
Probably the only fancy thing she had. 
And what a treasure it was!  

She got her hands around it, lifted it up, 
and in seconds she was making music...!

It seemed like magic to me.

When she played it,
it looked to me like she was a bird,
only instead of opening her beak,
she would open and close
her bellowed and glittery wings,
and music would float up around her.

It was half as big as she was,
but still she managed to sway gracefully
about her little living room
like we had been transported to
the Rue du Belleville and were 
dancing outside of Aux Folies.


So, you may have guessed it.
I totally have a soft spot for the accordion.

I wish I could remember what my grandmother played.
I'm sure she played some mean polkas,
and I bet she also just made stuff up,
since she could play by ear.

She just played.

Tunes.  Ditties.
Numbers.  Pieces.

Whatever you want to call them.

Whatever they were,
they were the sorts of things that
made me feel happy and lively
and gave my body an itch to move about.

She was an amazing lady.
I was only 12 when I had to say good-bye to her.

Sometimes I like to imagine what I would do
if I could be given one perfect day with my grandmother now.
Even if we did nothing but be together
and share each others' company, that would be so wonderful.

But if I could pack a beautiful (summer!) day with an itinerary,
there's a whole list of things that I would want to do with her. 

Of course a day would leave me wanting so many more days,
and there are questions still up for grabs:

Would I be a child again? 
Would I go back to her house?
Or would I be my adult self, and show her my life / family / town?

Or would we go on a road trip together,
taking delight in the wide open world?

While I'd like to do all of those things and more,
if I really only had one day,
I would choose to revisit and expand
my favorite childhood memories with her.
It'd be a day full of music, nature, food, and stories.


I'd watch her hands dance overs the keys of her organ
while she'd play some boogie woogie,
half-dancing with the rest of her body,
scootching around the bench,
pumping pedals with her feet.

I'd watch her hands knitting
while she rested in her recliner,
and I would ask her all of the questions I have now
that I couldn't have thought of as a child.

I'd want to learn about her as a person
and not just a grandmother.

I'd want to hear her laugh her big big laugh
so I could memorize it.

We'd have a snack and play a game of cards.

We'd go look in her birdhouses
 to see if anyone made a nest.

We'd sit on the porch
while she'd whistle and warble
with her feathered friends.
(I swear she could speak bird!)

I'd ask her to show me all of her flowers
(or posies, as she called them)
and tell me about them.

 I'd hug her and hold her hand
and look into her soft brown eyes
so I could be sure she would know
how special she is to me.

(will always be to me.)

We would go for a walk through farmer Joe's fields,
and maybe end up down at my great-grandmother's farmhouse.
or even walk all the way down to Blackwell to go swimming,
and call someone to give us a ride back up the hill.
We'd pick something fresh from the garden to eat for dinner,
maybe snapping peas or green beans
into a bucket.

(while we were at it,
we'd also pick a bunch of dandelions
so Pap could make wine with them.)

Since everything she made was delicious,
(from scratch, from memory)
maybe she would teach me
her best best BEST recipes.

And we would definitely eat pie,
at her tiny kitchen table,
next to the old porcelain drainboard sink
and the bowl of fake fruit.

We'd stay up late talking
and then decide to have a camp-out
out in the pop-up camper.
(the one that had a little teeny tiny refrigerator
that I loved to look inside to see if there was anything in there)
we'd carry out blankets and pillows and flashlights
and we'd fall asleep telling stories
with the sound of the peepers in the background.

She would fall asleep before me,
and I would giggle quietly
at her snoring sounds
and then soon the cadence of the peepers
and the steady sounds of her snores
would send me
into my own dreams.


What would you do if you could spend a whole day
with someone you love and miss?


Since this started out being about accordions,
here's an accordion piece I really like.


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