Monday, November 28, 2011

November Blog #28: "The Gift That Keeps on Giving"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 28): Describe an heirloom that has been passed down in your family. What is its significance to you?

I can’t really think of any heirlooms in my family that have been passed down.  There doesn’t seem to be a physical item that has been passed down through the family for years and years, although, my sister was handed down an important tool---an instrument of purpose.
Google says an heirloom is “a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations”.  If I were to think of an item like that in my family it wouldn’t be physical per se, and I would have to say music

Music is a very big driving force in my family.  You couldn’t really show up to a family event without someone breaking into song together, or alone.  We’re whimsical and goofy and it’s wonderful.  My family loves music and are always incorporating it into our lives.  My maternal grandfather traveled around playing in a jazz band before my mother was born.  My grandparents’ first children were raised on the road, swinging in hammocks rigged up in the backs of cars, unheard of today, but perfectly safe and necessary for “living” on the road back then. 

After they had a couple more children, my grandparents settled down.  By the time my mother was born and growing up they were settled into a home and Pap Pap was working a normal job as a machinist.  He was still playing music around local establishments occasionally, though.  The man could play so many instruments.  I don’t have the best memory of him.  He was pretty old by the time I had memory of such things.  I never heard him play any of his instruments, but hear tell of how my father would just sit and watch Pap Pap play, mesmerized.  I wish I had the opportunity to hear him play the sax, which was his most played instrument.  He always played the clarinet, the violin, the xylophone, I think, and a few others perhaps.  I wish that I could have got to know him in this life.  Regardless, I think that it is neat that his “heirloom” of music has traveled down the generations.  I play the acoustic guitar and often wonder if his talents inspired me to learn.  I watch my daughter’s love for music and wonder if she inherited anything from him. 

We were “turned on” to music by my mother.  She was constantly watching videos (Night Tracks, who remembers that???!), or listening to records, 8 tracks or the radio.  This was no doubt inspired by her father’s appreciation of music.  In turn, it has given me and all of my siblings a love for music.  In turn, again, it is giving perhaps my daughter a love for it as well.  Pap Pap’s alto sax that he used to play was actually given to my younger sister to play in the band in school.  She played this sax her entire time in the band.  It is a relatively old sax and the people at a music shop tried to talk my mother into selling them that one and buying one from them.  Had she not know its worth, we might not have it with us today in my sister’s playing hands.  It isn’t just a slightly old saxophone that is worth a little bit of cash, it is an instrument handed down that has transcended the generation gap.  I guess it could be considered an “heirloom” or sorts, or a symbol for the true heirloom that was handed down through the generations---the love of music. 

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