I think it was when I was ten I started my long journey of piano lessons. I remember the first little songs. I remember the repetition of two or three notes, the learning to count 1-2-3-4 out loud as I practiced, and having to curl my fingers a certain way to please my teacher. I remember how I loved it the first time a song actually appeared in my little book having more than two or three notes. There was actually a melody! I bet I played those first songs a million times.
Next I learned songs I actually recognized like Old Susanna, This Old Man,
, and a million others. I liked being able to sit at my piano and play songs for my mom and dad. Mom had to listen to all the practicing so she never really asked me to play anything but almost every day when dad came in from work he’d ask me to play a song for him. He'd sit down to take off his shoes and have an iced tea. He’d call me from my room or from outside and ask me to play him a song or two. Of course I always did because I wanted his praise. I usually massacred the new songs but he always seemed to recognize and appreciate them anyway. America
When I was a freshman in high school I became our church organist. I can remember dad’s face the first Sunday I played for the congregation. He beamed looking at me and listening to me. He frowned at the folks who kept whispering. I remember him motioning to Dan Baptista as he walked into the church. He looked at Dan and pointed at me. I was embarrassed and proud at the same time. Dad was always proud of me and my music. I was always proud to play for him.