Saturday, February 12, 2011

No Guts No Glory

We made it through the week without Del.  We feel a little crazy when he's gone.  A little off kilter.

The only incident was the car running with the keys locked inside.  Not bad.  No blizzards.  No illness.  No dead chickens - at least not any I'm admitting too.  I did have problems with one of their water 'thingies'.  I couldn't get it to stop running.  Usually when you put the lid on,  a vacuum of some kind is created, and the water will stop.  It didn't stop.  Amidst my panic, a soup of chicken poop and water quickly formed.  Chickens were dive bombing me in my attempt to fix  the problem.  For them, I was trying to fix it for them.  Instead of saying thank you they pooped and dive bombed me.  I was ticked. 

We had chicken and biscuits for supper that night.  Plucked, cooked, chicken.

Kelli was in a piano competition last night.  She went on at 7:10 PM.  We picked up her piano teacher, headed to Des Moines,  met Del for dinner (he had just come from the airport), and then headed to the TV studio.  We walked into the building, lost and confused, not having a clue where to go.  A kind lady recognized out lost look and took us under her wing - no dive bombing involved.  After Kelli got signed in, we opened up a set of huge double doors, climbed some steps, turned a corner, and spotted the piano. Breathtaking. A Steinway Grand.  It was on a black stage, situated under thousands of lights, cables and foreign equipment. Of all those lights, one single spotlight leered down on the piano, the rows of theatre seats all situated to give the piano player the utmost attention.  I gulped.  Yikes.  I looked at Kelli.  She looked, listened and then took her seat.  We all followed her.  

The next contestant handed her music to the judge, climbed the four steps up to the black stage, and the elegantly waiting piano.  No music to look at, the judge had it.  I frantically whispered to Kelli, "You have to leave your music with the judge?  Did you know this?"  She silently nodded, eyes on the current contestant at the piano.

My supper was starting to churn.  The music rose up from the black pit below me.  It was astounding.  I forced my eyes to the stage.  The girl was into it.  She looked like a professional.  More supper churning.  Kelli looked at me.  We both knew that she was not at this level. The next two contestants brought that point home.

Kelli's turn.  She descended to the judges.  Handed off her music.  Climbed the steps.  Walked the eternity to the piano bench.  Took her 30 second warm up.  The judge said, "Stop."  It was time to begin her piece.  I couldn't look.  I couldn't watch.  

She did it.  She played her pieces beautifully.  It was true that she wasn't at the level of the other contestants.  She did it anyway.  When she was finished, we clapped like a bunch of fools.  People stared.  At that point it was clear we didn't quite belong there. They knew.  They knew we didn't have the proper appreciation for Mozart, Brahm, Bach, Beethoven or Rachmaninoff.  They may have even turned up their noses to us, the Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., U2, Taylor Swift and TobyMac crowd.  To our credit, not a one of us were wearing boots or ball caps. Del didn't have a chew in.

I was so proud of us.  Del had to be gone to fulfill his task of providing for us, but now he was back.  I had dealt with the chickens.  Kelli, the brave girl she is, took the walk into the black hole, to that imposing Steinway Grand, sat down and gave all she had .  Elizabeth and Will sat, watched, lead the crazy clapping charge, and bestowed her with words of a job well done when she made her way back up to us.  As we walked out of that ominous place, the kids in front of us,  I smiled, grabbed Del's hand, and couldn't wait to get home.

No guts, no glory.

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