(This is the first in a series of little stories of leaving hearth and home.)
I don’t know how old I was. Maybe four. Maybe five or six. I was sitting on the couch in the living room, feeling totally safe and cozy. My mother was sitting close on one side and my dad on the other. Mom was probably just sitting with Dad, who was reading his Braille, his fingers moving across the page and his eyes looking up into the warm air. I was feeling so good because I had never sat between them before. I know I hadn’t because I can still remember seeing the space there and wanting to sit in it, hesitating, then finally actually doing it.
Even today the worn leather of the couch presses against my fingers. Dad was resting where he always did after his farm chores, beside the right arm rest. And on that uncomfortable-looking split he had worn into the leather with his backside. Across the room from him was the nicest piece of furniture we had -- other than the old, ornate organ Mom had inherited from her mother. It was our HiFi and the most beautiful music was emanating from its cloth-covered front, filling the room. Even now, whenever I happen to hear a bit of that particular piece on the radio, the room with me sitting there between Mom and Dad fills my mind. I still have the album Dad played that day. Here. You can listen to it with me while you read this. It’s a serenade by Mozart, called Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, or A Little Night Music. And six decades later it’s still one of my favourite pieces of music. A little night music in the middle of the afternoon. For me it’s the sun dancing on grass. I was looking out the screen door of the porch opposite me. The warm sun was glancing off the tall green blades in our lawn, grass that Dad would let grow to farm length, then cut with a scythe. I watched through the screen the slow flight of a bee from dandylion to dandylion, as in a dream. The bee and the sun were part of the music. At the far end of the wide lawn our fence posts stood white in front of the neighbour’s trees, which lounged green and tall and comfortable there. I thought of going out, but not yet.