Friday, November 27, 2009

Getting Things Right

Dad had died and I had his violin; I decided to take
lessons. One of the bank tellers where I worked
mentioned her aunt was a music teacher. She gave
private piano and violin lessons. Her name was
Margaret Bailey and she lived on Bailey Road just
off the Back Caribou Road where the stretch was
hilly farmland, quiet and crispy cold in the winter
time and sweet and sunny in spring and summer. I
would drive from our place on Main Street in
Presque Isle and take the old road that was curved
and hilly and come to the bottom of a long incline,
which was the crossroad where Bailey cut through
Caribou, turn left and drive about another quarter
mile to the old farm house -- big and white.

Margaret lived there with her sister Maud. I was in
my twenties then, Margaret must have been
pushing sixty, and Maud Thaw was widowed and
surely pushing eighty. She was stooped over with
a dowager's hump and had been a school teacher
for many decades. She was always smiling. Maud
moved much slower than Margaret, who was a spit
fire, full of loud laughter and burning energy. She
had married her music, her flowers and her dog
Fenriese, who barked ferociously every time I
drove into the yard.

Week after week for three years, I went for my
lesson. Margaret and I exchanged muffin recipes,
and Maud would calm Fenriese by petting him and
having him lie down beside her at her feet on the
kitchen floor, while we sat at the table sampling
muffins before the lesson.

Margaret was enthusiastic and positive about my
progress on the violin and never once berated me
for my lack of practicing, but encouraged me time
and again , feeding me new music pieces, enticing
me with "Danny Boy" and "Liebestraume" and
"My Wild Irish Rose." She played piano and I
played my pieces on violin. She would say, "Next
week, we'll play a duet. I'll play violin with you."

We managed to have fun even though I remained
recalcitrant as a musician.

No comments: