By Marjorie Hart
Do you have a problem with priorities? Years ago, there was no such thing as we know it today—priority was an unknown word. No lists, no two-year calendar, no cell phone and no one to remind you, “Are you finished yet?”
Now, having a priority is essential before a cup of coffee though I wonder at its usefulness. If I start the day with music, I know I should be writing, If I’m writing, I should be practicing. Let’s add an emotional element—guilt. Do we need more guilt? I looked back at my childhood for a clue.
When I grew up there was music every day: morning, noon and night. Even in those bitter Iowa mornings which were so cold the frost covered the wallpaper, I’d dash to the kitchen and huddle next to the black iron range where my sister was practicing her violin. Each morning, it was hot cocoa with Czerny violin exercises. In the afternoon, mother’s piano pupils would line up and I’d hear so many versions of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavichord, I could hum them in my sleep. At night, mother lulled us asleep playing the plaintive C Major Brahms Intermezzo. Its haunting melody and the memory can still bring me to tears.
My father had other interests—he loved books and poetry and could dramatically recite The Raven to visiting company, or show me the exotic countries in the National Geographic. My first encounter with Tiffany was their glittering ad on the first page. When we walked in the woods, he kept Audubon’s book of birds in his coat pocket to spot a new wood thrush. But my favorite was the mosquito-net tent he brought from
Did my parents have priorities? They got up each day and did what they had to do as an integral part of their lives, without a list, a calendar, a car, or a complaint.
But I’m still looking for my priority. Shall I practice for a concert or finish my writing?