It was a fantastic evening. Mark and Michelle, Moshe and I with our children, at Mum’s house for Friday night dinner. Moshe was still well, we hadn’t heard the “C” word mentioned yet, and we were all happy with life, the universe and everything. We sat and ate, and talked, and laughed. You know, one of those wonderfully warm family nights that makes you feel like everything’s right in the world and you’re glad to be alive.
Mum had invited a friend to dinner. I think he was the nephew of her closest friend, but don’t quote me on that. Anyway, he was a really nice guy, a music teacher, and a musician, and of course we talked about the piano, and violins, and, before too long, dinner drew to an end, and we all found ourselves around the piano. The friend was playing some jazz – he was good! – as our Sarah looked on, and eventually, she had a go at “Jazz Cat”, a piece she still remembered from a decade ago when she learned to play in Dallas, Texas. Then I pulled out Mum’s Mozart book and began playing my way through a couple of sonatas, and then, suddenly, Mark comes in with his violin!
It was such an unexpected thing. I hadn’t heard my brother play on his violin in years and years. Possibly not since we were children. He’d played the guitar for me, several times, when we visited him at his home in Mansfield, but I’m sure I haven’t seen a piece of rosin and a bow in his hands for decades. Turned out, he’d brought his violin down especially so Mum could hear him play. He even had some music with him, and, with that cheeky glint in his eye, gave me the piano accompaniment to try out. We slowly worked out way through the piece together, and I have to tell you, although I didn’t know the piece at all, and fumbled through, I had the time of my life! It was such an exquisite experience, playing together with Mark, like we’d done oh so many years ago.
And there comes my Gita, with her camera, and she sets about organizing Mark and me on the piano stool, positioning our hands, turning us this way, heads that way, now smile, not too much, eyes looking here, and.. click! The photo’s taken. Mark and I, in pretty much exactly the same poses as we were in for the photo on Mum’s grand piano of us in around 1964. I think I’m about 8 years old, and Mark, 6. Or perhaps we were 9 and 7. Something like that. So there we are, trying to imitate the photo, to get it just right. And Mum? She’s jumping around, clasping her hands in sheer delight, her face glowing, smiling as big as you like, happy as the proverbial Larry. “Yes, yes! Exactly like that! Oy! Oy! Oy! It’s exactly like the photo! Can you believe it?” We had the best time! Mum told us that the original photo was taken at Christmas time, when our family was on holidays at some fabulous hotel, and we – Mark and I – gave an impromptu performance for the house guests. Here are the photos. What do you think? Have we changed that much?