It's hard sometimes to perform under circumstances like that. With the flute you literally need to keep a stiff upper lift and solid breath control, which is hard for me to maintain when I see the sadness in the faces of family and friends around the room. I'm sure each of us was probably thinking this might be the last time we ever see MA this way again. For her part, MA was pretty much just like always. She joked and teased, and sang with much gusto. She truly was a good hostess to all of us.
After the concert, one of the residents came up to talk to me. Her name was Barbara. She is 104 years old and she graduated from high school in 1926! She told me that she had been the oldest of 13 children, 5 sisters and 7 brothers and that when she was in high school she practiced the classics, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart for hours and hours a day! At that point I motioned for all of my kids to come over so that they could here Barbara talk about what it was like to do chores, homework and music when she was a teenager. Barbara told me that before she graduated she played a 10 minute piece by Mozart on the piano from memory. The kids were quite impressed.
For being 104 years old I thought Barbara was very clear minded and a great conversationalist. Oh, she did tell me the story of losing her dentures twice, but I tell stories a couple of times myself. The difference I suppose is that I have a vague feeling that I've told the story before but Barbara didn't seem to have that. Maybe in 50 years neither will I! or I can pretend I don't so that I can retell my favorite stories as much as I want!
But Barbara felt bad about her dentures. Apparently one of the aids accidentally knocked them in the waste basket and then through the garbage out and that was the end of her teeth! And Barbara was upset because she would like to have another set but the dentist told her he won't make another set because her mouth has changed so much. I think he just doesn't want to put a lot of time into a dental piece that won't be used for very long. But still I was impressed by how much Barbara still wanted to live. She would like her teeth, she wants the aids to help her walk more, and she wants people to talk to. That's pretty much all she wants to be happy. Oh, and she told me she prays a lot. She can't get to mass and they don't have mass there so she prays on her own, all the time.
I have two more playing gigs this week. Tomorrow I am playing for the funeral of a lady who died from triple-negative breast cancer. I didn't know her personally, but the choral group I play with was asked to take part and so I was invited. Although this woman was only 56, she was well known for being very friendly and kind and a wonderful volunteer, even while fighting for her health. So they are expecting a lot of people tomorrow. I was told between 600 and 1000, which I didn't believe until I read that her calling hours are going to be at a local hotel instead of the funeral home, probably to accommodate a larger group of people.
So I'm a little nervous about that. It's a big crowd, an important and gracious lady - I want to do a good job.
I have some educational movies in store for the kids tomorrow morning while I'm away. I was able to find Beckett, and A Lion In Winter at the library. That and math assignments should keep them busy.
I also have a concert on Sunday, but I'm not too worried about that as I'm sure I won't be playing as much as I did at Christmas time.
We'll probably do this one though.