When guests would come he'd put on Big Band favourites and the house would groove to the trumpets and saxophones and smooth notes of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller and Mel Torme. Sometimes, he'd ease into light jazz and rhythms like Herb Albert and his Tijuana Brass or Louis Armstrong. Sunday mornings he'd put on marching bands and the house would awaken to the pounding timpani of bagpipes and bass drums marching through the walls.
And my father would laugh and call out, "The early bird catches the worm, time to get up sleepy heads." And we'd get up to the smell of bacon and eggs and toast laid out on the dining room table as the Marching Bands shifted to nasal twang of a country crooner or Ravi Shankar's sitar which he loved to play just to bug my mother. "It's your heritage, Iris," he'd insist when she asked him to please turn that noise off. "No it's not," my mother would reply. "I was born in India but I'm French."
My father loved my mother and would turn off the Sitar but not the music. He loved music too much to ever turn it off.
It is a love my siblings and I share today. When my brother was alive he had a favourite game he insisted everyone play, "Name that tune." It didn't matter if I was in the same room or three thousand miles away. He'd call out, or phone me and say, "Listen to this!" and he'd play a few notes, and I mean just a few notes, of a song and ask me to "Name that tune".
I wasn't very good at it, the game of naming tunes. I must be a slow listener because it always took me more time than tune to figure out the name. And don't ask me, 'Who sang that?" I wasn't good at naming singers either.
But I loved the music. Still do. Though my tastes are not as far-stretching or eclectic as my father and my brother's were. From African drums to East Indian Sitar to Native American chanting, my father and brother held music in awe. They breathed it and it breathed life into them. With music they were animated. With music they sang, even though both were tone deaf.
I remember standing beside my brother in many a Christmas Eve mass, trying to stay on tune as we sang Christmas carols and my brother belted out at the top of his off-key lungs every single word. "It doesn't matter if I'm out of tune," he'd insist. "It's the music. I gotta be part of the music."
My father seldom came to Midnight Mass so hearing him sing was never an issue.
Though I'd have liked to, hear him sing. It was something he didn't do much of in life. Sing. Life was too busy, too serious, too tight and wound up for him to sing. And anyway, as he liked to say, he didn't need to sing. There were those who did it for him far better than he ever could, because, no matter the mood or the occasion, there was a song to fit your every mood on one of the two-thousand plus albums that filled the bookcases of our home.
He had them all alphabetized. By category. To find a specific album, or even song, all you had to do was flip through the pages of one of the blue binders that sat on a shelf in the living room. He'd typed up those pages. Typed ever single album title, genre, artist and song for easy reference. He was an iTunes library long before digital recording ever became the state of the art.
My father and brother are both gone from this world. Their last breaths taken only their song of their love of music remains.
And I am grateful. Time has marched on from those days when my father and brother fought over which song to play, or who named that tune and still, the music fills my world. Under the spell of its melodious call, it fills my heart with the memory of these two men who once breathed their love of music into me.
It is another Blog Tuesday Carnival over at Peter Pollock's. Today's one word prompt is "Marching".
You can participate, or just come along for the ride and read the stories other's have contributed to today's One Word Blog Tuesday Carnival. Just click HERE and you'll find the links to take you on a magic carpet ride marching before your eyes.
Just take my hand, because, as one of my brother's favourites liked to sing, There's a place for us. Somewhere a place for us.....