A gift unwanted, disdained,
sat untouched.
Please. Pleaze. Pulllleeeze.
Pleas for lessons.
When you can reach the pedals
we said again and again.

And then . . . young fingers
explored the keys.
Eager feet
moved left then right.
Fingers began to dance
and feet to pump.

Hymns at church
rang out loud,
ten year old dwarfed
by massive pipe organ.
Appendages in synch
matched broad grin on face.

Thank you dad.
Your gift, unwanted once,
became our daughter’s future.
If only you could see her now.

Sarah hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write about a harbinger…..a sign of something to come.  This posts tells a true story. When my parents retired, they basically sold all their worldy goods and traveled the states in a motor home. My dad gave us his very small Lawrys organ and gave my brother a beautiful antique school clock he’d refinished. For years, I was furious that I was stuck with this musical instrument that no one could play and my brother got this fabulous clock!  And then our daughter started to beg for lessons. The rest is history….as you’ll see by this one minute video! 


At an early organ competition. Love the knee socks!

43 thoughts on “Harbinger

    • lillian January 29, 2019 / 3:47 pm

      Thank you, Bjorn. Little did we know when she was that young how this would become such a huge part of who she is! She has her DMA in organ performance….has performed in Germany etc. Her gift is on the organ….but also connecting with people.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. sarahsouthwest January 29, 2019 / 3:43 pm

    Is that your daughter? What a great video, she looks like she’s having such a good time! And so accomplished. What a wonderful gift your dad gave you – I wonder if he knew what would happen? It’s a lovely poem, it really captures the joy of learning to play. You’ve reminded me of my son getting the (highly simplified) sheet music for the Harry Potter theme, and turning round from the piano and saying “it works!”. I think that was the moment he connected it all up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 29, 2019 / 3:49 pm

      Smiling I am. Yes. That’s our daughter. My dad died when she was in 12th grade….but from the time she was 10, whenever he visited, he would stand and listen to her play. From the early pop songs, to the simple Bach preludes and fugues, to quite accomplished pieces by 12th grade. In that last year, he would stand and the tears would come to his eyes. It turned out to be truly a gift.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. kim881 January 29, 2019 / 3:46 pm

    What a great gift! I could have watched more, Lill! Your daughter is so talented, with a wide repertoire – I recognised Huey Lewis’s ‘Power of Love’. I enjoyed learning more about you and your family from the poem and the video. More please!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian January 29, 2019 / 3:52 pm

      So glad you enjoyed. Kim, if you go to Phillips Academy Andover….their website…there’s a photo of her at the bottom. Click on that and you’ll find the interview she did for an article that is published with this video. It explains why she plays Huey Lewis here! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • kim881 January 29, 2019 / 3:56 pm

        I will do that! Thanks Lill!


  3. merrildsmith January 29, 2019 / 4:23 pm

    Oh, how wonderful, Lillian! The poem, the story, your daughter’s playing. She is so poised and interesting in the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jillys2016 January 29, 2019 / 4:43 pm

    Marvelous story and so charmingly told – love the pleading! Beautiful video, too.
    My mom played a Lawry and had many wonderful moments with my daughter, who played piano, the two of them sitting together and playing. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glenn Buttkus January 29, 2019 / 4:52 pm

    Sometimes the most touching recall springs from personal experience. Some of my best poems were curled around Truth, as we accept the Dare of sharing it. Smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:22 pm

      LOVE your comment here, Glenn! Thank you.


  6. hypercryptical January 29, 2019 / 6:35 pm

    Music – and the joy of it – is a wonderful thing.
    I am so glad that this gift gave your daughter such joy.
    Little do we realise what we receive,,,
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:23 pm

      She tells the story often….truly wish my dad could see her now. 🙂


  7. msjadeli January 29, 2019 / 6:38 pm

    Everything about this makes my heart happy. Please tell your daughter from me that SHE ROCKS! So poised so accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:25 pm

      Glad you enjoyed! Toward the end of the video, she plays Huey Lewis from the movie Back to the Future. In the article that accompanies this, she’s asked how as a young child she stayed interested in the organ. She responds that her teachers, when she was young, assigned her the typical Bach’s Little Preludes, but also let her play pop music like Beat It and Huey Lewis’ The Power of Love. 🙂 So they asked her to play one for the video! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli January 30, 2019 / 1:56 pm

        So awesome, to keep beautiful music alive.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Jade M. Wong January 29, 2019 / 6:51 pm

    Love how the organ passed through the generations of your family 🙂 It’s always worth it to have that piece of family history!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      This is a story that is now firmly rooted in our family lore 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rothpoetry January 29, 2019 / 8:05 pm

    A wonderful story… and the photo is precious! Sometimes we don’t know why things happen they way they do. Great poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it. I looked for the photo of her as a 10 year old sitting at the huge pipe organ at the church we attended at the time….couldn’t find it so used this one instead. I do love the knee socks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Violet Lentz January 29, 2019 / 9:47 pm

    Your daughters love shows through!! How wonderful that she has taken such joy in her expression, and how proud you must be.!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:28 pm

      Thank you, Violet. We’ve always loved to hear her play. One of our greatest joys, about 10 years ago, was going to a Christmas Eve service that she played….started by booming out Oh Come All Ye Faithful, included a beautiful Silent Night and ended with a very joyful Joy to the World! It was one of the most moving Christmas services we ever attended! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this.


    • lillian January 30, 2019 / 12:29 pm

      Little did we know at the time….a real harbinger of what was to come! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. annell4 January 30, 2019 / 2:36 pm

    Yes, the “sign” often expected, somehow comes too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jazzytower January 30, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know that those organs mimicked other instruments. Loved that one minute demonstration. A very worthwhile gift in the end. I really enjoyed this write.


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 31, 2019 / 10:26 am

      Yes… the pipe organ is often called the King of instruments because it is massive in many ways: sheer size, sound capacity, and variety of tones etc. usually the largest pipe on an organ is 32 feet! And an instrument has a huge amount of pipes. The Spreckles organ in San Diego has over 5,000 pipes! As our daughter tells her students, you learn to just go for it on this instrument…when you make a mistake everyone hears it because it is such a loud instrument – but you just keep going and you are confident in life to just keep going!


      • jazzytower January 31, 2019 / 12:09 pm

        Getting the better of it, or even close to that is quite an accomplishment I think. You must be very proud of her😊.


  13. Brendan January 31, 2019 / 4:28 am

    We don’t know what will be made of our gifts to others, but the best ones are the vehicles by which they become something they always were!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gina January 31, 2019 / 9:04 am

    i want to add serendipity! – thank you for sharing this precious memory – sometimes the least expected bring the n=best results.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. kanzensakura January 31, 2019 / 2:26 pm

    First of all, that organ looks just like the one my mother bought when I was 11 so we both could play and play. We both played by ear although I read music as well. Your daughter is so talented, so very talented and at such a young age. This was a delightful poem and it helped me get to know you better – always a plus!


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