My paternal grandmother was a whiz on the organ. She had an old organ in her living room, and loved to crank it up when we would come to visit. I remember watching her fingers fly over the two tiers of keys, her feet moving over all the pedals, and her eyes twinkling as she peered at us over her glasses.
Her love of music transposed to my dad, who played the piano and the trombone. One of the first songs he ever taught me to play on the piano was 'Heart and Soul.' It was fun because one of us would play the upper part, and the other the lower.
You may remember this song from the movie "Big." It's the song Tom Hanks played with his boss on the floor piano at FAO Schwartz. I didn't think much about the song until today. Our new spiffy Honda Odyssey came equipped with XM Satellite Radio (and a complimentary three-month membership.) One of the stations I've come to adore is the 40's station - where they play all those cool WWII era songs, Bing, Rosemary, Frank - that somehow always remind me of Christmas carols.
After dropping the kids at daycare this morning I tuned the XM to the 40's station from the Kids station we'd listened to on our trek to the University. The song that was playing? Heart and Soul.
I'd never heard the 'real' version of it, only what my grandmother cranked out on the organ or what my dad and I plunked out on the piano. It was wonderful. It made me smile.
It made me miss my dad. And my grandma.
I suppose dad is on my mind more often these days, as tomorrow he would have celebrated his 66th birthday. This is his 4th birthday we'll celebrate without him.
It still hurts. Oh, we'll still celebrate - we'll still have birthday cake and sing 'happy birthday' to Grandpa Don in heaven - but it still hurts. Deep down. That ache that lets me know something is missing.
I hate that Anna has no memory of him - just a few photos of the one time dad saw her and held her. I hate that James and Jack never met him at all. I hate that they are all growing up without their grandpa and all of the wonderful things he could have shared with them, like his love of boating or taught them, like his love of cooking. Or perhaps, their first piano lesson.
Heart and soul daddy. I miss you with all of mine.