Clouds 4

The other day I stopped at a thrift store along the highway to poke around for a bit. (Cheap entertainment.)

On the way in I noticed a small Casio keyboard for sale (the kind with “light up keys” when you play the notes — an oldie, but a goodie) perched on a rickety stand on the dusty dirt “floor” outside. I didn’t pay much attention to it because my mind was on kitchen stuff (a girl’s gotta restock somehow) so I went inside in search of “treasures.”

Not long afterwards, a family came in — Ma and Pa with four young’uns in tow — who proceeded to scramble up and down each aisle in search of the next great “deal.” (Me, too.) Occasionally we bumped elbows and shared smiles and giggles as we went about our singular intended quests.

After I’d procured and paid for my $6.00’s worth of thrift store happiness, I exited the building intent on going home, but the keyboard beckoned…

On a whim (and because it was plugged in), I set my purse and “recycled Walmart bag” on the dirt floor and stood in front of the keys. What would I play?

An elderly gentleman (whom I’d conversed with earlier) was still slung on a bar stool (also for sale) and I wasn’t sure if he was loitering or just keepin’ an eye on things — but his face was weathered like the surrounding Oklahoma landscape and he interested me. He didn’t ask for a “concert,” but his stalwart presence and sense of fun elicited Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” as the optimal piece to play.

Within a few measures of the opening notes, a lil’ girl who reminded me of “Scout” (Atticus Finch’s daughter in “To Kill A Mockingbird” — one of my favorite novels) came running out the door and was glued to my elbow, watching… wondering… listening.

Soon, her three siblings quickly joined her.

Considering the majority of my “audience” was under 13 years old, I switched gears and said: “Here’s one I bet you know.” Then I proceeded to play the ‘Happy Dance’ theme song from the Charlie Brown specials. I love that song. (They seemed to, too.)

More smiles and giggles followed… theirs and mine.

When I finished, the lil’ gal commented: “You’re realllllly good!” and my response was: “Well, I’ve been playing piano for over 50 years now, so I’ve had LOTS of practice.”

(Imagine that… 50 years!)

The old guy just grinned, probably more about my age than my piano-playing prowess.

After that, we parted company — four youngsters and an “oldster” (or two) bolstered by strains of music from my past — music which I no longer have (everything burned up in the fire), but God graciously granted me “recall” for that impromptu concert. Playing from ‘memory’ was never my strong suit; it’s a discipline my piano teacher did her best to instill in me, and which others highly recommend for ‘freedom of expression.’ Unfortunately, the best I ever did was to comply by memorizing a piece or two for the requisite “piano recital” every Spring. (I need to work on that again.)

But, on occasion — on this occasion — I “remembered” — if only for the look of sheer joy on those young (and old) faces. Music was meant to be shared.

Back in my “hey day”(a half-century ago!), my piano teacher had aspirations for me to become a concert pianist — but life turned out otherwise. Now, it’s merely a ‘reflection’ of my past — and probably why I love the reflections on the lake (and music) so much… and Debussy to this day. Or the Charlie Brown theme. :)

Although I don’t have my old music books any more, I still enjoy sharing “music.” (Especially when youngsters — and “oldsters” are involved.)

Here’s one I used to play, illustrated by lovely Monet paintings (another love) and gorgeous real-life photos. Enjoy!

Debussy’s Reflections In The Water

Sunset before the storm 1

Whether or not life works out the way you (or others) once dreamed, you can still make a difference.

Enjoying “Reflections In The Water,”


21 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. And thank you for sharing your gift with those children. Do you realize that you probably left footprints with them? Outstanding, Kim. Bless you and people like you.

  2. I love Debussy and listening to this right now. I love the serendipity of your visit to the thrift store and truly believe that when we regard life as magical, it certainly becomes that.
    I’ve been asking S about playing an instrument and one day she came to me and said she wants to play the harp, so alas I found someone who teaches it and she will start in the fall.

  3. This is such a rich, reflective post. I pictured the whole scene. Kim, I’m so impressed you can play the Charlie Brown theme. I could never settle on the rhythm of that song. All my (distant past) learning playing piano was Suzuki style, by ear and memory. Sight reading not my strong suit! Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos and the reflections and music from your soul !

  4. Kim, that’s a beautiful story and you would have made those kids’ day with your playing. I instantly thought of your chair. I’m listening to Reflections in the Water as I type this and thinking about you and that view.

  5. I love this post, Kim. I found myself right there with you, toe tapping, hand slapping to the beat and watching the wonder in the eyes of the ‘youngins’ who undoubtedly will look at music making with a heightened sense of possibility thanks to you. I am reminded of a recent visit to my elementary school in Buffalo, New York, where, hanging on the wall we found our class pictures. A second grade class was making their way down the hall and a little boy asked, “Watcha looking at?” We said, “Our first communion pictures.” To which he replied, “Wow, I didn’t think any of those people were still alive!” xxoo

  6. Kim, you are such a wonderful storyteller. I could vividly hear the music and visualize that fabulous scene of your spontaneous entertainment. What a wonderful tale of you spreading such joy. I wish I could have been there. Thank you for sharing. Sending love your way, Jeanne

  7. Such compassion and talent. I felt I was there with your picture of words. You are blessed to give such joy to others with such simple things. So often we think that we need to give something of monetary value to give joy but the simple things are the things we will remember. Love you, your cuz

  8. Kim! I could just feel the sounds of your music and all those youngens around you just delighting in the unexpected concert…you could have inspired one to take up music…you’ll never know, but this is a gift of love you shared w/o any expectation of anything…even the oldster was probably tappin’ his foot secretly! Love it…and, you’re right dreams, whether the first or changed ones, do make a difference! xoxo love you girl!

    • Ah, Ally… giving without receiving… a topic which you completely “know” and operate from continually, xo. Wouldn’t it be cool if one of those lil’ listeners picked up/followed up on music… cuz they heard it (and were inspired) on the front door of a thrift store? I can only hope. xo

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