Friday, May 11, 2012

The Dulcimer and A Wild Hair

As Mother's Day approaches, I'm feeling less burdened with sadness, and much more at peace around mom's absence. Previously, my heart ached as I saw Mom's Day cards in the store, ads for gifts, and all the possibilities of how to celebrate mom. A recent estate sale of my mom's stuff and that entire process helped “wring” a good chunk of the grief out of me, ahem, at least for a while. No doubt it will rear its head again down the road. I've come to be okay with that because it keeps me connected with her, with her memory.

So for now, I enjoy the grief-free journey when it comes to my mom. This Mother's Day, inspiration to honor her rather than mourn and miss her struck me. I find the irony amusing, and that I'm actually following through with it joyously nuts!

Many years ago, my mom fell in love with the sound of the dulcimer and decided she'd wanted to learn out to play one. So dad had a co-worker make a dulcimer as a birthday gift for my mom.  Included were playing instructions, as well as an audio tape to help the student learn how to play it. I believe my mom actually “fiddled” (yes, pun fully intended here!) with the dulcimer a handful of times, but according to dad, she never learned how to play it. Over the last several years, the dulcimer has sat up in a closet of my brother's old room collecting dust.

Upon clearing out the clutter of my mom's things, my dad and I discussed what to do with the dulcimer. I called local musician and string instrument teacher, Randy Lanham, to ask if he was interested in buying it for teaching, or if he knew anyone who was interested in owning one. Unfortunately, he didn't, suggesting a music shop. Dad decided we'd hang onto it and sell it in the estate auction when it's time for him to move out of the house. So once again, it sat in the closet on the shelf collecting a new layer of dust.

Then last weekend, I stumbled across a newspaper magazine insert in Sunday's newspaper featuring the summer schedule of activities at Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes (LBL). While casually perusing it, I noticed a class being offered: Beginning Mountain Dulcimer, Saturday, May 12 at The Homeplace at LBL.  The class caught my attention. I've never been interested in the dulcimer, and I've never played a string instrument in my life, unless you count a piano because well, it has strings attached to the keys.  I suddenly felt mom's encouragement to take the class. Why not? the familiar voice reasoned. I felt as if she wanted to live vicariously through me.  So, I decided then and there, why not? I'll do it.  I took the magazine insert to work with me the next day so I could make the call for more information.

Monday came and I started to think, this is crazy! Maybe they expect people with a little experience in this class; can someone really learn that easily? So I called. No, previous experience is not required. Yes, all the basics, including explaining the strings on it will be covered. Yes, you will be able to play several tunes on your dulcimer before the end of the 5-6 hour class. Well, hmm, okay then, sign me up! And so they did.

I giggle at myself for grabbing this wild hair to learn the dulcimer; but I'm excited about it. First of all, it's been a long time since I've grabbed a wild hair; I'm notorious among for doing so, and I like feeling some of the “fearlessly adventurous Carolyn” coming back after a three year withdrawal. Second, this adventure takes me out of town, if only for the day and into a beautiful part of Kentucky's scenery. Third, I'm doing it for mom; call it a Mother's Day gift if you will. I know she'd get a huge kick out of my taking the class.  I sense it was her spiritual kick that got me into it!

Tomorrow, early Saturday morning, off I shall go to LBL to learn how to play a dulcimer. A couple of people inform it it is suppose to be easy to learn, which is optimistic news for me! I have no expectations around the outcome of my ability to play, much less play well. I see this opportunity to spend the day with my mom via the dulcimer, an instrument which she loved. I have no doubt she will be around watching and enjoying the sweet music it and all the other beginners make.

Stay tuned (again, pun so totally intended) to hear the rest of the story! Um, and maybe a song!

1 comment:

SanchoGrubb said...

Hey Ferbster! Sounds like a lot of fun. You have to figure some way to record the songs you learn to play and put them on facebook. Hugs!