By Fred Owens
Mozart in Zimbabwe
I liked the sound of that phrase so much that I journeyed to Zimbabwe in 1997 and brought this sheet music with me.
The Sonata in C is simple and easy to play -- although to play it well takes years of practice.
I brought this sheet music in my shoulder bag and went to Zimbabwe, and the quest was to find a piano. Surely they have pianos somewhere in Zimbabwe I thought, although the Lonely Planet guide book did not touch on the subject.
I went to the east of Zimbabwe, to the Nyanga Highlands, of such altitude that apple trees and plum trees can grow and the English settlers planted trout in the cold water streams.
I hiked around Nyanga and came upon a chapel, one of those terribly cute Anglican chapels, and it was empty and the door was unlocked, and there was the piano.
So I went back to the hotel for the sheet music, and then came to the chapel, quietly, with composure, and played the Mozart in Zimbabwe.
After a time a small African boy came in to listen. He must have been about eight. I invited him to come closer and listen. And then I said "you can play it, come, sit by me, try playing these keys."
He did. I enjoyed the music. Then I left the chapel and closed the door. I said goodbye to the little fellow who had played with me. I never came back to the chapel and never came back Zimbabwe. But I was there once, in 1997, and played Mozart.
Sciatica -- there 's a lovely word. It could be the name of a resort in the Adirondacks. "We stayed at the Sciatica on our honeymoon. It was a lovely place."
Or it could be the name of an Italian dessert, "Dear, try the sciatica. It is positively scrumptious."
Well, it is a nice sounding word, but the actual medical condition is quite painful. I've been having it for several weeks now, on the right side. It seems strange because there is nothing wrong with my hip or my knee and yet they hurt constantly, or intermittently. I take ibuprofen three times a day and that helps.
I take walks on the beach -- that doesn't help. I take an extra rest and that doesn't help. The only thing that actually relieves the discomfort is a few hours of gardening work. It must be all that bending and stretching that takes pressure off the nerve for a while.
I see the doctor on March 21 for my annual physical. so I will have something to tell him if it still hurts. Let's see what he says. Maybe it will just go away.
Otherwise I favor acupuncture for alternative medical solutions.
Art Najera came to the Santa Barbara Kiwanis Club lunch yesterday. He comes every Wednesday, to the Mesa Cafe. We had fish tacos.
But this week was Ash Wednesday, and Art is a devout Catholic. (I call myself an observant Catholic because I observe other Catholics going to church -- ha, ha !)
But Art is the real deal. He goes to church and his son is a priest. We call his son Father Tom and Father Tom used to come with his Dad to Kiwanis lunch until the diocese re-assigned him to a distant parish.
This week, Art came to lunch with his wife Barbara. They have been married for 58 years and seem to be enjoying it. Art is a retired orthodontist and horseman. He favors western wear, jeans and boots and crisply ironed snap-button plaid shirts.
Yesterday being Ash Wednesday, Art and Barbara come fresh from church with the ashes dabbed on their forehead, a traditional sign of Lenten penance.
I wonder if Art has ever heard the poem by T.S. Eliot. It's called Ash Wednesday. Eliot made this recording in 1930. It sounds too dismal, who died?
My English lit guru, Virginia Smith in Toronto, says the poem is not in fact dismal even though the poet himself seems to think it is. The poem takes 12 minutes to recite. Listen to it while you're doing your nails or washing dishes. Don't try to figure it out, just let it flow. Eliot is quite a good poet after all.
Have a nice week,