The Player Piano—XBox to a by-gone generation?

I know, I know— It’s not true. Certainly, it’s the Atari 2600 thats the XBox to a by-gone generation, but I have my reasons. I just got a shout from cousin Karen, and it brought back a flood of memories of family trips to Evansville, to see the Evans. I never thought that was funny when I was a kid, but now, I love it. The Evans’ from Evansville. Some of my fondest memories are of unsupervised play-time (I don’t know if ‘supervised playtime’ ever even figured into the picture) in the basement, which had that total ‘we’ve finished out our basement into a bar slash TV area slash let’s-put-the-exercise-bike-there-too area,’ look. And did I mention Air Hockey? Yes, yes… and it was one of those heavier tables, wasn’t it? Not the dinky ones.

But off in the corner was my delight: the Player Piano. It was magic, and to me, as captivating as Pac-Man (though maybe not Defender). Well, for short periods anyway. I mean— I guess you can only pump out Sister Golden Hair so many times before your eight-year-old legs are worn out. Sitting on top was a boxful of rolls for the Piano, and we made our way through them on every visit, basicaly looking for songs we’d heard on the radio. I think Bad, Bad Leroy Brown was in there, but mostly I remember the America song.

The thing about Sister Golden Hair was this: The lyrics said “damn.” Which was a cuss word. and we weren’t allowed to say such words. Even, “damn” was definitely on the no-no list. But part of the magic of the player piano was that, not only did it miraculously play assorted songs, right before our eyes (and pumping legs) but that it gave us permission to curse, if only within this very narrow parameter. Also S.G.H. featured the line “I got myself undressed” which tweaked some shadowy pre-adolescent titillation, although now, I see that it was more of a clinical depression kind of thing.

Usually we would play the piano as a group. Me and Christo, and cousins Karen and Becky would combine our resources to operate the big musty barroom upright, with at least one of us leaning on each of the bellows pedals, sometimes using hands instead of feet, just to add to the fun.

And speaking of musty— That smell… no weblog can convey that Wood of the Ages smell that would invisibly roll out when you played it, the way Cold billows out of an open refrigerator. I guess that ‘s what happens when you push modern air though the time machine of a decades-old bellows. It comes out old.

We would gather around this huge thing, this lumbering machine of wood, and we would bring it to life, because we could. The wonder of this to the eight-year-old mind… it was like raising the dead or levitating an object or some other fantastical achievement that normally could only live in my imagination. It was a thrill, however brief, that returned every time we visited Evansville.

Grape Hyacinth

Grape Hyacinth
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey.

Every spring, it seems like I notice something different. This year, it’s tiny little glories like these violets and Spring Beauties. It’s a lovely time here in the Bluegrass.

Day of Great Things

Okay, so here’s all the great things that have happened to me today. Okay, here’s some of the great things that have happened to me today

  1. Woke up. Always a plus
  2. Posted some pictures of Mecca’s 6th Birthday and Gallery Hop. (yours for the viewing)
  3. Went to Gamelan practice.
  4. Had major compliments paid and received more work from my favorite private school client, for whom I’m now doing much marketing.
  5. Got a car wash.
  6. Sat in Lori’s back yard and schemed good copy for her great boutique and Lexington at large in hopes of attracting major publication press.
  7. went to a cookout with the Lexicon Project folks. (okay, okay that was last night)
  8. Got some superfly new sunglasses from previously mentioned great boutique.
  9. walked with my sweetie in the fully-in-bloom Lexington Cemetery and got stalked by assorted ducks.
  10. got my first facial from Charlotte Webb, including a crazy rock-solid mud mask.
  11. rode my bike around, feeling the spring air and smelling bergamot, dogwood, and much more.
  12. celebrated the day with the first official gin and tonic of the season.
  13. THE CAPPER; Had a guy drive up and hand me a $500 check to me that had been mis-delivered to his house on the other side of town.

I ain’t kiddin’ ya, it’s been a banner day.