Sunday, May 12, 2019

Roads not taken

Ever wonder what you'd be doing if you weren't doing what you're doing now?

I'm 68 years old, and I spent 30 of those years working fulltime as a sports writer for The Dispatch. I was a general assignment newspaper man for a year before that in Pennsylvania, and in the past 13 years after my retirement, I still dabble in writing for a contracted paycheck.

You usually go where your talent takes you. It's what makes a career interesting and fun, and believe me, I had a great career covering sports for Davidson County and The Dispatch. I'd write a book about it if I knew anybody would buy it.

But sometimes I wonder what might have happened, back when I was 5 or 6 years old, if I had really enjoyed taking those piano lessons my parents crammed down my throat. I had to sit at a piano for an hour every day when all my friends were across the street happily playing in the borough playground. As far as I was concerned, hammering on the piano was an hour every day I wasn't going to get back.

What did I miss?

Now, 60-plus years later, I wish I could play the piano. Or guitar. Or anything musical. Dad played the piano, and Mom could sing. I could do none of that. What happened to our genetic right of passage there? Why did I spend so much time playing on a swing at the playground instead of learning swing on a clarinet?

I'm musing about this right now because, so far this weekend, I've seen some very good live music by Jill Goodson at the amphitheater on Friday, and then watched an Eagles retrospective on AXS TV Saturday that had me mesmerized and taking it easy in my singularly horrific monotone. There's a good chance I'll be hearing more live music today.

I love music. Clearly, I didn't show an aptitude for playing music when I was 6, so how come I get wistful about it now?

I love watching musicians perform. I love watching a talented string instrumentalist run his fingers across the fretboard. I love watching a keyboard artist (that coulda been me) evoking melodies from a Steinway, or a percussionist laying down a beat that others can follow.

Is there reincarnation? Can I come back in another life as a bass player? Is there a do-over? Is 68 too late to learn the guitar?

Life is funny. There's no promise that learning the piano as a child would ever take me down a different (country?) road.

But, then again...

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