Friday, July 1, 2011


Don't miss the funny short video (audio) at the end.
As three of us teach piano here weekly, we often hear, "I played this much better at home."  We know.  Teacher at your elbow = slaughterhouse music.  I taught a friend from church, Norreen, who actually had me step into the kitchen every lesson so I could hear her weekly piece performed well.  Voila!

Noona Piano company has a recital series of sheet music, one entitled "I Played It Much Better at Home."  So this phenomenon must be pretty universal.

Reminds me of another common denominator known only to mothers of babies and small children.  Our firstborn, Kimberly, had her firstborn, J.D.  We lived three states away so as novice grandparents, we missed a lot.  She was incredible at inventive ways to span our geographical gap.

I came home one afternoon to find my phone blinking three messages.  So I pressed play on the answering machine and the audio scene went something like this.  (I say scene, because I could envision it merely from Kimberly's voice on all three calls, registering three different, escalating pitches.)

BEEP  3:02

Bubbling, she spouted, "Oh, hi, Mom!  I was so hoping you were home to hear this!  Listen!  Just listen!  This is so cute!  OK, J.D., laugh for Nana!  Come on, baby boy. . .kitchy, kitchy. . .ticka, ticka.  Come on, Honey, give us that big laugh again."

Sounds of silence.

"Well, he was just laughing so hard I wanted you to hear it.  Kitchy, kitchy. . .come on, Sweetie!  Kitchy, kitchy. . ."


BEEP  3:04

"Here we go!  Let's try again for Nana.  Come on, sweet boy, kitchy, kitchy,  give us dat big ol laugh again.  You can do it.  Kitchy, kitchy.  Come on J.D.  You were just doing it.  Do it again.  Ticka, ticka!"


"Kitchy, kitchy coo!  Oh shoot!  Well, Mom, he WAS!  I tried.  It's so sweet.  I really wish you could hear him."

BEEP 3:06

"We're on a roll now.  He laughs so hard every time I hang up.  We'll get it for you this time, Nana.  Kitchy, kitchy, J.D.  Kitchy, kitchy."

(SILENCE, except for a huge motherly sigh)

"Come on, baby!"  (TONE a bit exasperated)  "Kitchy, kitchy, kitchy!" (Poor baby ribs probably getting bruised by now)  "J.D!  You just did this!  Do it again!  Ticka, ticka, ticka!"


"TICKA, TICKA, J.D!"  (Does her voice sound almost threatening now?  Imagining her fingers poking his sides gives a whole new meaning to mother goose.)

"Oh, for Pete's sake, Mama!  He really was laughing so hard a few seconds ago.  But the minute I dial you, he quits!  Kids these days!"

Not just these days, Honey.  Mothers everywhere know this scene well.  We call on our kids to perform, recite, show-off their latest skills.  The minute they're in front of an audience, even of one, they become deaf mutes without facial expression.  Age of the child seems irrelevant.

Kent was about 7 years old, fully into baseball, and playing in our back yard.  He'd throw the ball onto the slanted roof of our house and it would go out of his sight briefly.  Then he'd race to catch it as it reappeared descending.  Apparently he found success in his challenge so he came into the kitchen, "Mom, come out and watch this!"

I did but every try was a fail.  Finally, head hung low, he dismissed me, "Aw that's OK, Mom, you can go back in."

A few minutes later he breathlessly skidded across the kitchen floor, "Come out again, Mom!  I got it down now."

He didn't.  But we both gave it a good, long try before I went back to supper prep.

His third re-entry into my world from his brought a serious seven-year-older's query, "Mom, why is it ya' can't catch a ball when someone's looking?"

Even now his dad has no answer for that.  He breathlessly called me from the golf course one day recently as I taught piano with, "KAT!  You won't believe this but I just made a hole-in-one!"

"Wow!  That's unbelievable, Honey!  Who's with you, Doug?"

"No one.  I'm golfing alone but I did it!  I even took a picture."  As if that verifies anything.

Alas!  Piano teachers, mothers and wives have excellent imaginations.  We KNOW you did it much better alone.  Home alone.  We may be the sole witness but we're also soul sisters so we believe you!

"Live your life with such integrity that if you're golfing alone and make a hole in one, they'll believe you."

A survivor of motherhood and a true believer,

After writing this, I found another message on our phone from our other daughter. Katy actually DID capture the moment! Her 4 boys got their first pet, a kitty. Puppy is little David's nickname as Katy speak of him and it's his giggle you hear most, bubbling over and over.   Listen to their joy and laugh along.


  1. My younger brother, Ricky, has been on a Brazil mission trip for 2 weeks, so he's catching up on my blogs today. Ricky Tippett to me
    show details 10:47 AM (0 minutes ago)

    I’ve enjoyed your last few blogs, esp. the one on Dad. We’re so blessed as a family. And our blessings go on with our children and grandchildren.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    Norreen Furness commented on her Wall post.
    Norreen wrote:

    "You cannot begin to imagine how much I miss our weekly time together. Your standing in your kitchen while I played my song, the fact that you had to turn the piano to the wall at the recital so I wasn't facing the audience to play my pieces; and then there was that little portion of "Three Blind Mice" I threw in the middle of the offeratory piece that Sunday night just to prove to you that no one would notice! Yes, olde tymes! Loved the blog!"