Monica said ‘Don’t worry Mary you needn’t play today,’ but I protested: No Way, you have to play! How else will you earn your keep? So she gamely fired up her stootoot – isithuthuthu – and beetled off to the dining room where her friend ‘Mauritius’ was in her wheelchair, waiting for supper.
She rocked straight into Somewhere My Love, so fast that I missed it. I video’d her next song, ‘It’s Only Words’ (what’s it called?); and she said ‘Supper Time’ but I pleaded One More Please; Play for your supper.
What was that? I asked at the end of it. ‘Deep In My Heart’ she said – and then I’m so sorry I stopped filming, as she said, ‘It’s by Sigmund Romberg from The Desert Song’ and she told me more, that I can’t recall, but that ‘it was beautiful; very special’ I do remember.
I went looking . . .
Ah, here’s the trailer: You can see why Mary would have loved it back in 1954! Many of the songs are familiar; she played them; the reel-to-reel tape played them; and the Goor Koor sang them – all in the lounge at 95 Stuart Street in the Free State village of Harrismith!
And then the best song: The Drinking Song from The Student Prince! Sung in the movie by Mario Lanza.
The inmates in Azania – I mean Azalea Gardens – look forward now to new arrival Mary Methodist’s preprandial concerts. While we were chatting the guy next door stuck his head in and asked anxiously from his wheelchair, “When are you coming?” so we all hastened over to the lounge / dining room so Mom could do her thing.
In the background the ole man is paging through some old Farmers Weeklys. The piano music plays havoc with his hearing aids, so he has switched them off.
Ooh, says Mom, I’m not at my best today! True, says I, You were better when you were eighty. She hosed herself at that. She also played Angeline and Chatanooga Choo Choo and two others I forget the names. A round of applause from the tables announced OK, enough now, the grub has arrived. Mary immediately got up and joined them for roast chicken, roast spuds and creamed spinach; then pud.
edit: The old codger in the wheelchair was one of her biggest fans. We heard a couple of weeks after this day that he’d shuffled off, moved on; Natural causes after a good innings, nothing to do with Mom’s playing.
Mom’s short-term memory has got a bit shaky since a TIA a few weeks ago.
Today she tells me she’s getting on famously. “I sat down at the piano and played a song I haven’t played in YEARS. My fingers just remembered it. It was ‘Maria Elena’ . I played it without a single mistake”.
Her sense of humour hasn’t changed one bit as she pauses, then muses:
“Of course, I may have played it last week”.
“Maria Elena” was written for the First Lady of Mexico, the wife of president Gil, by Lorenzo Barcelata (1898 – 1943), a Mexican composer. It topped the charts in 1941. In 1963 it reached No.6 in the US charts & No.5 in the UK charts.
Sheila told another lovely story in June 2012 – Thought you’d all enjoy this: My niece Linda was telling her gran Mary Methodist and me about a friend who had all his precious work stored on his laptop, but had failed to back up anything, anywhere. Aware of the potential dangers, he was very conscious about the possibility of having said laptop stolen, so when he had to go out one day, sans laptop, he hid it in the oven.
Well, you guessed it: Hours later he was met in the drive-way by a very embarrassed partner, who had done the unthinkable. The precious laptop was melted, done to a crisp, warped etc etc.
Oh no! interjects Mary, He had cooked the books!