I don’t know exactly how it started, though I think it may have originated with my brother who started attending Ricks College the summer before me. Every Sunday a small group of us would walk off campus, past numerous student housing apartments to a small nursing home on the hill.
I was recruited namely form my piano ability, the rest came to sing. There was a beautiful grand piano in a large lobby area where the residents would gather. I’d crack open my hymn book and we would sing until voices were hoarse. We started with only about five of us. The piano plus a quartet, and we gradually grew. Before long there were easily twenty to thirty of us on some Sundays.
Small groups would break off and roam the halls, singing as they went. It was wonderful to see the face of the residents. How music stirred and lifted them. Brought cheer into their lives. Often we woud visit afterwards, and they had such wonderful stories to tell.
It was the first time he held my hand, on our way home from one of those visits. One of the girls in the group had hinted upon our arrival at the nursing home that my hands were terribly cold, so as we walked back to campus he suavely scooped my hand into his and tucked into his pocket. I still remember the thrill and grin like a giggly teenager whenever I think of that moment.
Those were some of my favorite times, playing and singing at the nursing home, expecially when he was with me. We didn’t have the oportunity much after we were married. We had kids, and it seemed that making it to a nursing home to play music was too hard to juggle with the children.
Then a couple weeks ago someone supplied me with a brilliant idea to have our upcoming (not until May) piano recital at one of the nursing homes in our town. Of course! I thought. Why hadn’t I thought of that.
Arrangements were made, and then it got me to thinking. It’s a Friday night. We need to go on the best date ever. So, I packed up as much old time music as I could find quickly, fetched the babysitter, and Paul and I drove to the nursing home.
We had called ahead to tell them we were coming, and they were waiting. They chuckled when they asked why we came and we said it was our date. We played and played, and sang and played. Paul brought his spoons as well. The memories were grand, and we played for an hour and a half. The smiling faces, the joy – this is the marvel of music.
We wound things down to a finish, put on our coats and headed back to our car. Paul reached down, scooped my hand into his and slid it into his pocket, sending a giddy girlish thrill shivering through me.