I was no piano virtuoso. I dutifully practiced the piano and played in Ms. Henslee’s annual piano recitals, graduating to the level of “Humoresk” by Levine and “Waltz in B Minor” by Chopin. Alas, I now can barely stumble through Piano Lessons by James Bastien! Memo to myself: I must practice the piano. But instead of practicing, I find myself working on my writing, re-reading A Bell for Adano, swimming laps at the local YMCA, and thanks to the Wall Street Journal, the Internet and the media, exploring places like the Mideast, Nigeria, and Ukraine—not to mention other responsibilities.
Incidentally Ms. Henslee is Coker College’s oldest living alum, and I like knowing that because my mother also attended Coker College and also received her degree in piano. Instead of pursuing her music interest in NY or Europe, however, my mother became a homemaker who taught me to love books, writing, and to practice the piano.
So, one of my delights this summer is learning about my piano teacher’s 104th birthday. Another was attending the outdoor performance of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic 4th of July Pops Concert. Seated in my chair, surrounded by a patriotic and music loving crowd, a mild breeze and no mosquitoes, I relaxed and felt privileged to live in a community such as mine. To top things off, the next night I attended the Arena Theatre for a performance of “Company,” a musical in which one of my former students performed brilliantly as a singer and dancer. What a grand way to savor music, summer, and teacher/student memories. One thing, however, that would make it even better is if I could relive one summer afternoon several years ago when I and my daughter visited Ms. Henslee. We were in the Carolinas and learned she still lived in her own home. We stopped by, and she was delighted to see us. She invited us in and asked if we would like “a Fizz.” We weren’t quite sure what she meant by “a Fizz,” but we said, “Yes!” She mixed us a drink that truly was a refreshing "Fizz,” and we sat together and talked about family and friends. Neither I nor my daughter will forget that enchanting summer delight.