Jenny Booker: Family Heirloom

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Family Heirloom

By Jenny Booker

As he sat in his favourite chair sipping his tea, I saw a man growing older before me.

“Did you enjoy the concert?” Dad said, breaking my worries.

Concert, what concert? The last concert was a year ago? I thought.

“Oh it was lovely, Dad, what did you think of it?” I asked.

“Oh it was ok, I guess. I think I played well but the accordion behind me couldn’t keep in time to the tune,” he mumbled.

“Do you remember the first one I played at? Lovely bunch of people but no one could play to standard, so annoying.”

“Hm,” I replied.

“My hands ache now from playing and the shoulder pain is now getting too much,” he said sadly.

“I remember when you first got your violin, Dad — and since then you have done so well with it. Will you go back to it every now and then or take up the guitar again?” I asked.

“Maybe,” he said, putting his cup down shakily.

“How is your practise going?”

“On and off really, Dad — I need more time, to be honest. It’s hard when you’re tired all the time.” I sighed, thinking of my only practise session I had this morning for the next few weeks.

“How about a practise now — me and you?”

“Really? That would be so lovely. I’ve wanted to play alongside you from day one!” I beamed at the unexpected turn of the afternoon.

“Yes, but you weren’t ready at the time. However, it’s been a year since you got it so let’s see, and I might not be playing for much longer.”

Grabbing my violin case from the car while he got his out of his room, I then started to set up excitedly, but also a bit nervously as I only played either to myself or to my teacher.

Not long later we started, and the sounds of the classics only filled the air. After a while my fingers were sore, and there were a few little comments from him about posture and intonation. But a smile from him said it all while the other residents were clapping.

“You need an upgrade, you have outgrown that one,” he said, smiling.

“True, but they are so expensive,” I replied, looking down at mine.

“Here, have this one instead,” he said, with his very old violin in his hand.

“No, Dad, I can’t take that from you — you will need it next week for your group?! It’s your baby.”

“I’ll take my guitar — it’s time.”

My fingers glided down the polished wood trying to see the instrument, but tears were clouding my sight.


“Happy birthday, sweetheart,” I said while watching my daughter tear through the wrapping paper.

“Is this what I think it is, mummy?” she asks, shocked.

“Yes — I know you love your piano but thought a new instrument would be great.”

“It is, thanks so much,” she said, leaping towards me and giving me a hug. I could smell the shampoo from her shower earlier and missed those times where I assisted her.

As quick as she hugged, she was back to the present — her very own violin.

“Now we could practise together!” she beamed.

My heart leaped but was also a touch sad at the same time.

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