Not ready to discuss this with family ;)
As some of you know, it's been a semi-rough last ten months for me. When dad passed away from cancer last October, many of you sent condolences, and I totally appreciated that - proving even more so that drummers are different from other instrumentalists, for caring about a fellow drummer. Well, here we are, ten months later, still moving forward, but still sorta dealing with this hole.
In my Hawaiian family (and maybe alot of other families) we have a celebration at the one-year anniversary of dad's passing with a huge get-together, which we're doing in October on the islands. After that my mom said she'll begin to go through the house and start moving dad's things out by re-distribution to other family members - so I guess that's when her grieving ends and she begins to move forward. That'll be hard, I know.
In the interim, I honored both mom and dad by getting back to the old Slingerland drums that they started me on some 40 years ago now (it's seem unreal that that's how long ago that was!). And mom thought that was cool. But something has begun to change in me these last few months. I've spent all my life doing things to get away from my crazy family, and lately all I've wanted to do was throw barbecues and invite them all over all the time. I guess I'm beginning to embrace my Hawaiian-ness? The negative side of me is saying "well if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", but the positive side is telling me there's no shame in discovering that I actually love my family, and the fact that we're based in Hawaii is even cooler - and maybe a year ago when I said I'm going on vacation it was always somewhere where my family wasn't. Now, I don't mind going to Hawaii. It actually feels like home.
But I may be embracing even more family than I'm willing to admit. When mom thought the Slingerland's were cool, the thing I didn't know is how much she'd lit up when she found out I had a ukulele in my house. Then she told me she actually has a vintage pro ukulele, and was quite a player when she was younger (before she had her kids). Unknown to me was that both she and dad played, and my dad even played mandolin (it bugs me when I find out that my dad was pretty cool after he dies!). Anyway, it surprised me that she knew so much about playing ukulele, I'm sort of at a loss. I had thought both really weren't that musical and that they were just tolerating my drumming.
To admit my closeness with family, I've invested in a pro ukulele to be able to sit around and play with mom (and the rest of the family). I know a few chords, but basically a remedial player, but to see mom light up about the subject is worth it. It's a deeper connection because it's what they did, and I want to know more about it. And I've been on YouTube looking at these incredible ukulele players - like any instrument, it's being pushed beyond its island boundaries and like some drumming, it's downright scary what people are doing. I've been searching for melodic instruments for my musical expression outside of drumming and I think I've found it. I tried guitar, piano you have to take in college, I have no desire to play a horn or a violin, but the unassuming ukulele seems to be it. Seems crazy.
And I thought a friend of mine was crazy spending $700 on an acoustic guitar made by Taylor that he couldn't play (which is really cheap, I guess). Well, I just spent $1500 on this ukulele. Why did I complain about spending $450 on a used Supraphonic again?
So I'm still playing drums, but I've never felt connected to another instrument until now. I'm not ready to tell my family why I'm doing this, but I figured I could tell you folks. Perhaps the why will become apparent as I get better at this. But this is probably my physical embodiment of saying I love my family.
Unless they drive me crazy.