My dad was asleep when I arrived the other day. But this day he awoke on his own after about a half-hour. In groping for a conversation topic, I told him about my fellow board member at Daughters of Hawaii. She is an ukulele player, wants to learn to play guitar. I am a guitar player who wants to learn melodies to some Hawaiian songs. It's a great fit, and we plan to spend some time together, each benefiting from the talents of the other.
I didn't pick up the guitar until after I was married. I took piano lessons while in school, and for several months took an ukulele class with my mother at Punahou School. Daddy was interested. "When did you pick up the guitar?" he asked.
He looked wistful, then said, "I always wanted to learn to play the piano." Oh????? That's a revelation.
"Didn't your mother teach you to play? She played piano quite well."
"I took lots of lessons." he said. "Never could learn to play." His mind drifted off to cars, as it often does.
"I didn't think I could get along without a car." he said. "I've had a car since I was 16." Another revelation.
"Oh, did you have a car while you were in high school?" That would be interesting. I thought the family had so little money during the Depression that they had trouble putting food on the table.
"Yes. I had a 1928 Dodge coupe." Even more interesting. My dad celebrated his 16th birthday in December, 1929. OK, maybe he wasn't 16.
"Did you work on your car yourself?"
He didn't answer yes or no. "There was always a group of about six fellows who were ready to work on my car." He was never much good with things mechanical. Always had to have someone to work on the boat engines, too.
The educator in me went click-click-click. My father seldom read anything except the newspaper. Was less than successful in school. Worked on old bicycles, the ones made before bicycles had hand brakes and gears. Couldn't learn to play the piano. Does that mean he couldn't get his fingers to coordinate, or he couldn't learn to read music? Preferred books with lots of pictures. Badly wanted to use the computer, but seldom remembered from session to session how to turn on the machine, open a document or send an email. Has he fought a specific learning disability his entire life? Something that depends on rote learning, where most of us depend on our reading skills? Does that intensify the trauma of memory loss?
It's all a moot point now, at his age and with his struggling memory. But the questions keep flying through my head.
Give thanks for time shared. Give thanks for what we have without dwelling on what we have lost or missed.
Don't forget to pray ....!