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Dad’s Last Gift

piano BW

I’ve mentioned in previous posts and many of you know me personally so you may already know my Dad passed away a few months ago . Actually it was Nov 29th, 2011.  He meant a lot to me and my family and although, a flawed hero to be sure, he influenced so much of who I am.  He owned and operated hair salons here in Omaha and a founded a beauty school in Arkansas.   He did a lot of things in the beauty industry and was more than proud of my accomplishments as a hair professional.  Anyone who knew him would tell you what a proud father he was of all 6 of us kids.  He was of course most proud of me.  He was also a musician and….. OK OK I was kidding about the “most proud of me” thing.  I have a sister that is also a hairstylist in Tulsa, so it was probably me and her that he was most proud of.  The other 4 kids…eh.  Oh fine, there’s a contractor, ed psychologist/principle, airline pilot and a lawyer…..a butcher a baker a candlestick bla bla bla ya ya I’m sure he was proud of them too.  Let’s get back to my poignant story.   My Dad was a natural musician that could play a lot of different instruments.  I mean not at the same time,… he wasn’t some kind of circus freak.  His main instrument of choice was the piano.  He had the musical gift of a great ear and he passed that along to us kids.  We’ve all played instruments at one time or another.  I continue to play and play often.  I chose the piano too.  We had a spinet piano growing up that I began playing on as a kid.  My brother, the lawyer has that piano in his house now.  He plays the drums.  Ya, don’t ask me how the hell that happened.  Like I said, he’s a lawyer.  Anywho, since my early sex, drugs, rock and roll days in bands I’ve had electric keyboards that I’ve played on.  But I’ve always loved playing on any real pianos I could get my hands on.  Any pianist can tell you there’s just something about the sound and feel of a real piano.  Especially a grand piano.  Now I’ve never expected to own my own full sized concert grand but I have always wanted a baby grand.  I knew someday I would have one but it’s never been practical for me to own one because of their size.  “Practical,” being the operative word there.  Stay with me.  I’ve come to realize that the word “practical” is a very relative term.  When I was married, the word practical sometimes meant the opposite of what I thought it did.  While dating and living with someone the word practical could mean something I was totally against but thought was a good idea if I wanted….let’s say, good relations later that evening.  Now that I am a single person with 2 young children that I can easily take in a wrestling match, the word practical has less…weight in my life for now.

My Dad was a dreamer if nothing else.  He always had something he was working on that was gonna be big.  He did do well in the hair business off and on, at one point having 3 salon’s at once.  But he was not a business man so much as he was a good stylist, great people person and a dreamer.  At the end of his life he didn’t have much, monetarily speaking.  Hey, you can’t take it with you and I’m guessing even if he had hit the big one and made his millions he still would have made sure it was all put to good fun use by the end anyway.  All of us kids are more than OK with that.  Yes, even the lawyer.  But what we did discover was that dear ole Dad had a little life insurance policy that ended up kicking out a little something to each of us after his funeral expenses etc.  How he managed to give us all something after it was all over is truly the realization of one of his dreams.  Now, it’s not quite enough for any of us to retire on or to even call an investment consultant about for that matter.  But it was just enough for me to make the very practical decision to finally buy myself a 1929 Wurlitzer baby grand piano.  She looks every bit her 83 years old but I think she looks and sounds beautiful.  Dad always had a way of making the impossible seem possible and the impractical seem practical.  With this piano, he did both.  Thank you Dad.  You’d have loved her.

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Thomas

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