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As I’ve kept track lately of Katie’s wonderful cross country automobile trip I’ve found myself thinking of things I have always wanted to do but somehow never managed to do. While I’ve crossed the country several times it’s always been in a plane which isn’t a way to see anything except clouds and airports.
I’ve missed seeing Utah. Several family members have had the opportunity, two by going there to snowboard, and now another using it as the route from Denver west. Everyone has been knocked out by the sheer beauty of the state. I wouldn’t want to live there but do wish I had driven through it.
The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone - two places I could have visited fairly easily but didn’t. Things were going on in my life that made travel far less important than staying put and just enjoying the sheer joy of living. I was lucky. My daily life was more wonderful and exciting than either of those glorious places.
I wish that somewhere along the line I had learned to play the piano. I did rent an apartment once that had an upright piano in it. I went to a music store and bought a two book series of lessons for the self taught. It was a pretty good system... I could read music which helped. By the time I was at the end of book two I was able to play sheet music and the scores of arias from five operas.
This meant, of course that I occupied myself while singing vigorously. It was so much fun, until I met the new neighbor next door who had studied the piano all his life and was concert caliber. He was such a kind man. When I apologized profusely for my musical noises he assured me that he didn’t mind a bit and told me to go right on playing and singing as it obviously made me happy. I did but at a much lower volume.
My next home did not have a piano so my diva career came to an abrupt end.
The next musical instruments in my life were the guitar and the alto recorder. Again I went the self taught route. It was easier than the piano but I still regret not taking lessons. I learned all the chords for the guitar but never the fingering for the right hand. I could sing at least a hundred songs but could only strum with my thumb. Burl Ives did the same thing but his voice was sweeter than mine. The recorder is a wonderful instrument, especially if you play it with other recorders. My daughter took lessons but I never did. I was able to play Bach and Mozart. A few years later I put my recorder away and recently took it out and gave it to Chuckie who has learned to play it in school.
I wish I had learned how to sew, knit and crochet properly. Again, tackled all three skills on my own. The sewing, on an old treadle machine wasn’t too bad so long as I was altering something, but working from a pattern was beyond my reach. I probably could have learned from an instructor but didn’t. The knitting I worked on, using my own technique which gives real knitters fits when they see it. I actually managed to make a few things. Crocheting, again with my own way of holding the hook, I learned about ten years ago from a neighbor.
I managed to make afghans and some nifty pot holders.
I also wish I had taken some good cooking lessons from a gourmet cook, well, a chef actually. Fortunately, there have been some really super chefs on TV sharing their recipes and techniques, starting with Graham Kerr, an Australian toff in ascot and blazer who was followed by Julia Child. There was a French Canadian chef who was on TV when I lived in the county and the only TV available was from Canada. He specialized in French, French cooking not Canadian French. He taught me a lot, especially how to cook rice with a minimum of fuss.
The list of regrets goes on. Why didn’t I learn to change a tire? Why didn’t I learn how to fix a leaking faucet? Why have I never travelled to Montreal, Quebec or Prince Edward Island?
One hit me the other day. With all the colors I’ve dyed my hair over the years,
why have I never tried blonde, even for a day. My daughter-in-law, daughter and granddaughter all assure me blondes have more fun. Too late now.
I’m glad I crossed the entire country in a train, as it’s the only way to really see people and places. Now Katie will have the same chance, and while I’m worried I’m also pleased for her. Oh, how I’d like to go back and do it all again.
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