Monday, December 15, 2008

Legacy

Two of my dearest bloggy friends, Kathleen @ South Forte Farms and Kellie @ Blue House Academy, suggested that I repost some of my favorite "golden oldies" during my blogging hiatus.  Great idea, ladies!  Thank you!!

I first posted Legacy in December, 2008.  I thought it appropriate to pull from the archives and post today since my mom made it through her knee surgery successfully this morning.  Thank you for your prayers. 

She now faces rehab from surgery and has to begin walking again with the aid of a walker today.  Just hearing the word rehab is hard for her.  This post can help you understand why.  Please continue to lift her in prayer as she regains the use of her "good" leg and works to rehabilitate through the added difficult of her disability....

Orville began piano lessons recently. My mom, his Nohnie, teaches him. The piano has so much significance to her, and it is a joy to watch them together. I hope one day he will grasp just how special this instrument has been to her and the beauty of the legacy she is passing to him.

Just before her seventh birthday, my mother wanted to learn to play the piano. Her neighbors owned a piano and offered to let her visit their house daily and practice. They even gave her a few "lessons." She truly loved playing and went to their house as often as she could. Soon, everyone saw that she had a remarkable ability. She could play by ear but was learning to read music and play by the rules, too. It was not long before she could play like a pro.

A few months later, my grandmother and she went downtown to shop for a new dress, a common practice of theirs. There were no malls at the time, so they would park where they could find a spot and walk from specialty store to specialty store. However, this shopping trip would be different.

Mamaw (that's what I called my grandma) got out of the car and walked around to help her seven-year-old baby girl out. Mom took two steps and fell to the ground. Mamaw thought she was joking at first and prompted her to get up before she soiled her clothes. However, Mom could not get up. She was rushed to the hospital and after a long series of tests was diagnosed with infantile paralysis or polio.

The good news was the paralysis was isolated to her left leg. The bad news was she would have to relearn some very basic motor skills, including how to walk. For the next year, she could not go to school, go outside to play or do many of the activities that a "normal" seven-year-old girl would do.

My dear Papaw was not a rich man but he had a heart of gold. He painted houses for a living and money was often tight, but he knew my mom needed something special to help her through such a difficult season. She needed something that she could call her own, that could occupy her days and give her joy as she worked so hard to rehabilitate. He worked extra hours and saved the extra pay until he had enough to buy her a piano of her own.

Her hands and arms worked just fine as did her right leg. She could play and work the foot pedals and forget all about her troubled left leg. She played and played, and her abilities grew. Soon, everyone recognized that she had a very special talent given and blessed by the Lord.

She did eventually walk again but only with the aid of a large, stiff metal brace that ran from her hip to her ankle. She could only move her left leg by swinging it way out to the side. To the kids at school, she was laughable. She was mimicked and teased. They called her "Chester" after the disabled character on the t.v. show Gunsmoke. To her teachers, she was little more than a nuisance. She was behind in her studies from being out of school during the year of rehab. Most thought of her as slow, a poor, little, crippled girl who would never learn anything.

But, she had her piano. It was a comfort to her, a reminder that the Lord had made her exactly whom He wanted, that He was all-loving and ever-present. Her remarkable gift grew and grew as she poured herself into her studies and practice. It was the one thing she could do well and she did it with gusto. By the time she was ten, she was her church's pianist.

Just before Mom's sixteenth birthday, a family moved to Knoxville from St. Louis and visited the church where she played piano. The family's eldest son had just graduated from high school and wanted very little to do with the South. He had protested the move, feeling sure there would be no indoor plumbing and that everyone would eat "possum" like on the Beverly Hillbillies. He intended to endure life in Appalachia for a couple of mandatory months and then take off for college- back to the Midwest where he belonged.

However, at church that morning, his plans were derailed.  He liked what he heard coming from the piano. When he noticed that the pianist was a pretty teen-aged girl, he liked what he saw, too. After the service, he complimented Mamaw on how well her daughter played. She told him that he should tell her daughter himself. He did, and, as you have probably guessed by now, the pianist and the Midwestern boy soon fell in love and married.

My dad would not be the only fellow to fall in love with my mom and her piano playing. Nine years ago, the pianist became "Nohnie".  Her first grandson, Orville, loves to hear her play.  He has since he was born, and it was the one thing that soothed his colicky spells as a newborn. He wanted to start lessons this year so he could learn to play like Nohnie and spend time with her.  What a wonderful time they have together as his precious hands follow hers!

Hers is a legacy of faith and of love. I pray the Lord will continue to bless her life as she passes that legacy to the next generation of our family.


6 comments:

Amy W said...

Precious!! What a testimony of the love that you have for your mom and for B. What a legacy indeed! God had great things in store for your mom the day she went shopping....a way to share the gifts and talents that He has given her, and the way that she would meet your dad! Priceless! :) Thanks for sharing!

HEATHER said...

Wow! Thanks for putting that into words. You better print this off and put it in the scrapbook!

argsmommy said...

What a beautiful post -- it should be published.

Kellie

Molly said...

This is a great post, Dawn. You should blow up the photo and frame it.

I'm not a great pianist like your mom, but we do have one thing in common. When I am sad, it is a refuge for me to play. I don't play too often these days, but today I took 30 minutes for myself so I could play. It was an encouragement at the end of a hard week.

Molly @ Counter-cultural mom

Melissa Lester said...

What a beautiful testimony to God's providence, and your mom's willingness to use her gifts to his glory. I'm so glad I stopped by here to read this tonight!

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

Lovely story, beautifully written.