This is my version of the Where I’m From poem by George Ella Lyon.
Some of us are writing our own versions.
I am from years of piano lessons,
from Mel Bay easy guitar method books
and hours of complicated scales and exercises.
I am from the a cassette recorder playing me
playing the piano part to Chicago’s Colour My World
as I play along on the flute.
I am from the smooth feel of the white keys,
the bumpy awkward feel of the black sharps and flats,
the dull but painless pull of nylon strings,
and the satisfying pain of throbbing callouses on the tips of my fingers
as I finally graduated to real steel strings.
I am from mom and dad driving me to lessons
and making sure I practiced, from the sound
of my loud clumsy daily practice
mixing with the smell of dinner cooking in the next room.
I am from mom and dad attending every concert, recital, and show
and mom saving S&H Green Stamps for a real wooden metronome.
From “anything worth having is worth working for”
and “we’re so proud of you”.
From knowing three chords
and sharing each and every one with my Girl Scout troop
on the long bus trip from Houston to San Antonio in the spring of 1972.
I am from Amazing Grace, In The Garden, and Take Me Home Country Roads.
I’m from the valley beneath the Roanoke star,
climbing in and out of ancient railroad cars at the Transportation Museum,
and returning to Roanoke now only for weddings and funerals.
From visiting Virginia Tech with my dad as a child
as he said “This is where you’ll take math”,
from seeing his photograph with the class of 1960
hanging in the building where I got the highest grade in the class
in 5-hour thermo,
and from moving my own son into Eggleston dorm
just like his grandpa of the same name.
I am from sharing the music and passing on the vision.
I stood on the shoulders of some really tall men and women to reach the top shelf.
And I know that the best things are sometimes found buried in the cupboard down below.