As a kid I didn’t mind my poppa practicing violin at home, or his friends coming over to play chamber music, and I loved it when he sat down at the piano, because it meant he was in a good mood. I even liked seeing him in his dark suit, white shirt and bow-tie.
But I hated his concerts.
I hated having to wear a dress, hated sitting still in the dark doing nothing. And I hated how interminably l-o-n-g and boring symphonies were, movement after movement after movement.
It wasn’t as bad when I could bring my best friend Birdy, because we could sit separate from my mom -- that is until intermission when some meddling old fart invariably tattled on us for giggling. Then my mom, burning with the shame that could have been avoided if she’d let me stay home in the first place, would make me and Birdy sit on either side of her for the rest of the concert, or the rest of our lives, whichever came first.
But I somehow grew up and found myself liking some classical music. In high school the high drama of Dvorak’s New World Symphony spoke to me, blasted loud and throbbing with emotion. In time more subtle composers made sense, and I eventually started tuning in to the classical radio station. I even dressed up and went to concerts on purpose and without Birdy.
Then my Poppa died.
I miss him when I’m building something and need his advice. I miss him when the kids do something he’d like, such as get married. I miss him when I see birds being birds, and squirrels being squirrels; and flowers blooming: But I knew I would.
What I didn’t see coming was that even now, almost two years later, I still can't listen to classical music without crumbling.
When I was a kid, if anyone had told me that one day that dreary music that I detested would become my sweet Poppa's voice from the other side, I would have laughed.