On a more serious note: A guest column

Hi again, everyone.  Scout here.  First of all, thanks to Editor Hogenswallow for allowing me to interrupt the news of Bell Bottom Creek to do a little explaining as to why I pretty much dropped off the map.  Let me try to start where I left off when I ended Scout About.

As you know, I had a full plate of monstrosities and wasn’t dealing well with any of them. In the middle of the deaths and neverending suffocation from growing pains, I lost all motivation to write and just up and quit my blog. Just like that.

But now, I have to tell you about something that happened recently and though I took it the hardest of any of the bad news I’d experienced this year, it ultimately motivated me to start blogging again.

It all started with a few notes and ended with a complete song. Or, at least, I have to make myself believe that it will.


I never really wanted to take lessons from her. Never had the desire to start back with piano. So, when it was time to go over to her house, I ran away and climbed a tree. I thought I’d learned all I’d ever need. As luck would have it, I got tired and came down.

Mrs. P wasn’t the most traditional of piano teachers. Her stubby fingers looked better suited for the constant baking she did rather than the running over of the ivories, but she had been making magic on the keyboard for years. I came to her small house on Etheridge Street expecting a review of  the usual chords and measures and left with the knowledge that I’d gained a grandmother.

Mrs. P didn’t only teach piano. I found that out from the very first lesson. She had been successful in the business for over 40 years because she taught life and she taught it to people from all over our area. A visit to her house brought the unique mixture of Clair de Lune, homemade coconut pie, pictures of her children and grandchildren and conversations on topics ranging from church to the best place in the area to eat catfish.

The piano served as the centerpiece and learning the notes served as the driving force behind each and every Tuesday afternoon and the person I’d once dreaded meeting became the person who made my week. We began venturing out her home and on two occasions she invited me to be her “daughter” at her church’s mother/daughter banquet. I beamed at the thought that out of dozens of “pupils” (her word for “students”) I’d been picked to be her “daughter.” 

Then she moved away. She moved to Lexington to be with one of her daughters and then later moved to Cordova. Initially, I never forgot her birthday and made sure I sent regular letters. Always always at the tip of my tongue hung the phrase, “I need to go see her.” And then I missed a couple of birthdays and as I knew she was approaching 90, my phrase changed to, “I need to go see her before she dies.”


A couple of Saturdays ago, I attended the funeral of Mrs. P.  The service was long and full of wonderful piano music and was attended by many friends and family members. Mrs. P’s nephew got up to read a “work by a former student” and the work turned out to be something I’d written for Mrs. P 13 years ago.

Walking back down the street after the funeral, I was inconsolable.


Over the past few days since the funeral I’ve been reliving these overwhelming feelings of depression that come over me every time I go over those words, “I need to go see her before she dies.” I feel as though the funeral served as closure for so many people. The usual, “Oh, she’s in a better place.” But that’s not been so for me. I’ve felt nothing but regret, guilt and sadness that I didn’t act quickly enough. As I told my boyfriend, I feel like a part of me is dead. That simple yet powerful inspiration that was my guiding force for the better part of my growing years.  The hearkening back to happier days. So many thoughts, terrible thoughts, have been running through my head lately. Unspeakable thoughts.

How will I ever get over this? I have no idea. But, my dear friend  is right and I’ve been thinking about her advice a lot lately. Never ever pass up the opportunity to go see someone and tell them you love them. Please do it before it’s too late.

And Mrs. Pritchett wouldn’t want me to stop blogging. She wouldn’t want me to stop practicing. For writing. For piano. For life.


3 responses to “On a more serious note: A guest column

  1. That’s a beautiful tribute Scout. I have a similar feeling about my singing teacher. As long we remember them live with them in our hearts, they are never really gone for good. I’m happy you’re writing again.


  2. Hugs! Lovely. I’m glad you wrote about this.

  3. This is beautiful.

    P.S. I am catching up on the new blog, and I like it :). Will be rolling you soon.

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