The Furry Obstacle

In this house, even playing the piano implies overcoming obstacles.

The Parent Imperfect will definitely go crazy if he hears those Halloween dirges one more time. Ms. Connie is in the frantic final stages of practice for her upcoming Halloween piano recital.Worse than the PI’s reaction is that of the sweet feline, Sheba, who goes into a frenzy whenever Connie tickles the keys. We can’t tell if the music bothers her, or she’s angry because she wants to be playing.

Connie is taking a fourth year of lessons with Mrs. R. in Jamaica Plain. She continues to struggle to find time to practice, so her improvement seems slow. She seems to enjoy playing, though, so the lessons continue. Piano is one of the things (along with gymnastics and theater) that might be harder for Connie to keep up with if she was going to a more demanding school. Liz, who took lessons for years, herself, helps Connie when moods allow it. The PI just sits back and gets great enjoyment from seeing the one of his children do another thing that he might have wanted to do, but never did.

Every time the PI thinks of playing the piano, he gets a flashback to Sister Cecilia Marie, whacking him on the fingers with the wooden pointer when he made mistakes. He believes that memory comes from an incident in fourth grade, Connie’s current grade.

Last weekend, her teacher organized a special practice workshop for Connie and another student. Since she had not prepared, as required, Connie had a complete meltdown on the way to the class. Always in control, the PI was definitely ready to turn around and go home, but he eventually got her to the workshop and it seemed to go just fine. Luckily, Mrs. R. is going through a period of being understanding about the limitations faced by her young students. Connie returned from the workshop with a previously unseen sense of motivation

As a sign of her zeal, Connie was up practicing before school this morning, while the PI prepared her lunch. After playing both of her recital pieces almost flawlessly (according to a true philistine), Connie burst into the kitchen.

“Did you hear??? I even kept playing when Sheba crawled across my lap. That one little stop was when she dug her nails into my thigh.”


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