Blowing In The Wind & Turkey Pot PieThursday, February 10, 2011
|My mother at the piano|
Today’s blog begins sometime before Christmas 2010 with a turkey that my friend Paul Leisz brought as a Christmas gift. We had already planned for a ham and we had indeed bought one. We put the turkey in the freezer until we could figure out what to do.
It was around 1948, I was 6 years old and Monica invited me to her birthday party. She sent her father with a brand new 1947 Chevrolet with plush cloth interior. Until I was 11 or 12 I became motion sick in anything that moved, including trams, cars, swings and worst of all merry-go-rounds. Halfway to Monica’s house I threw up in the car. I made a mess. When we got to the party they were serving a wonderful Argentine pizza. I was hungry. I indicated I wanted a slice. There was silence in the room and they told me that I was much too sick to eat anything. In retrospect I must have left their brand new car a mess and they didn’t want me to make it worse. I have a vivid memory of the gray interior of the car. What I did in that car, resembled the insides of Rosemary’s turkey pot pie we had today, Thursday.
It was around 1948 that my mother and I would take tram 35 on Nahuel Huapí Street to town to visit my grandmother Lolita. The trip was sheer torture every time the tram would curve this way or that way. When we got to Abue’s apartment we would often find my Uncle Tony and my Aunt Dolly. Uncle Tony had a lovely tenor voice and he sometimes played a recorder. My Aunt Dolly played an efficient violin and my grandmother has a beautiful coloratura soprano. My mother accompanied on the piano. I was much too young to appreciate all this and I would sit on the floor quite bored.
The afternoon began with my mother playing Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven. I remember even though I was bored that she always gave us a wonderful rendering of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
After the piano solos the three of them (Aunt Dolly did not sing) would take out sheet music and play and sing music by Gershwin and many other songs from American musicals. Some of the songs were of Filipino origin and my Uncle Tony sang in Tagalog. Other songs were in Spanish and my grandmother sang a particular Ave María from a composer called Santiago.
I don’t remember if we ate anything after. My mother would then take me home in the meandering Tram 35.
Rosemary came up with the idea of inviting Paul Leisz and his girlfriend Amy for turkey dinner last Saturday. My eldest daughter Ale was going to be in town and we suggested that both bring their guitars to play. Rebecca is learning guitar at school and we thought she might learn a few tricks from Paul and Ale.
The three sat in the living room and Ale produced the inevitable addition to any modern home concert which is the laptop which can instantly show the lyrics and chords of just about anything.
Rebecca was soon slightly irritated in not being able to accompany the more experience duo and shifted her efforts to singing. Rebecca, I must assert here has a very nice voice and we were charmed by the trio while Amy suggested songs and at some points sang, too. Lauren (inheriting from her grandfather) kept telling us she was bored. She attempted to play two Australian aboriginal sticks but the noise drove me insane. I told her to going back to being bored.
Rosemary and I both enjoyed the evening and even more so when Amy pointed out that we had three generations at the sofa. When we first arrived in Vancouver, the first Canadian we met was Paul. Ale was only 7. With Rebecca as third generation this was special.
Every song I asked for they played. I asked for some obvious nuggets like Blowing in the Wind and Leaving on a Jet Plane. But they also played a more difficult California Dreaming, Help and Nick Lowe’s Cruel to be Kind.
We never did finish the turkey so we have been eating it ever since. Today Rosemary made a delicious turkey pot pie. As I looked at the inside (the pie crust was flaky and browned just right), I thought about a brand new Chevrolet. And…