Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

October 10, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:13 am


The love of music has played an important role in the lives of the Howell family although Dad could not recognize any songs or “carry a tune in a bucket”.  Mother taught Jane and Clara and me to love music.  As long as we can remember we had an organ or piano in our home.


Jane and Clara learned to play the piano when they were about five years old.  They remember their first teacher, Miss Arville Petersen, in Plainview before our parents moved to East Texas.  Mother and Daddy moved a pump organ given to them by a lady in Kress Baptist Church where Dad was pastor.


I was born after my family moved.  I remember as a little child that I crawled up to the pump organ and pushed the pedals up and down while Mother played.  By the time we acquired a piano (that probably weighed 1000 lbs) Jane, Clara and I played the old piano by the hour.  I even learned to play with my two to three working fingers and took piano lessons from Frances Sewell.


I recently uncovered my first recital dress which brought back lots of memories of my piano days.  Jane, Clara and I loved to hear Mother’s rendition of the Black Hawk Waltz.  We thought Mother could play that piece so beautifully.  Jane and Clara remember that they would invite their friends over to hear Mother play the Black Hawk Waltz.


Jane and Clara have both played for their respective churches for more than fifty years.  Clara teaches piano lessons to children and adults.


After my parents and I returned to make our home in Hemphill, I purchased my first piece of furniture which was a Hammond organ.  Playing my organ was my pride and joy.  I would come home after a long hard day at the Reporter office and sit down at my organ and play all my favorite hymns.  That was a way to relieve all the stress of the day as well as being my way to praise the Lord for all God’s blessings.


About a year late, Mother purchased a Baldwin Acrosonic piano since we left the old clunker piano in Boling.  Mom’s new piano was the fulfillment of a long time dream for her.  She loved to sit at the piano and play her favorite hymns and often play her Black Hawk Waltz.


The piano seemed to lie silent after Mother’s death except when Jane and Clara came home to play it for me.   Sometimes they would play and I would play my organ along with them.


After I became disabled, I could no longer play my organ.  This broke my heart.  When my friends happen to ask me what I miss doing the most after I became a quadriplegic, I say “I miss playing my organ”.  My answer surprised some people.  Then I would explain that someone could dress me, someone could feed me and do all the little things that I needed but no one could play my organ for me.  After twenty-six years that continues to be my biggest heartbreak.


Mom’s Baldwin piano stayed in our home until about three months ago.  I wanted to give it to someone who would love it as much as our family did but that did not happen.   The recipient of my piano gift never acknowledged the gift with a thank you. That was a heart break to me and my family.


I recently heard a sermon about giving thanks to our Heavenly Father, family and friends for all they do to make life on the bright side for us.  Let us remember that gratitude is not gratitude until it is expressed.


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