“Talent is useful, but always keep your dagger sharp.”

The predicted snow stayed north of us. My sister who lives 14 miles from Boston got 5″. We got rain. The rain storm started around eleven and was still going strong at 12:30 when I fell asleep. Today is bright with sun. The blue sky is almost cloudless. The breeze is strong, and the pine branches are swaying and bending enough to make noise. It is a chilly day.

Tonight is game night, and we’ll also celebrate Chinese New Year. One year we did origami and folded the different color papers into dragons and kites and other symbols. I was horrible at it. I thought I had folded the papers just right according to the illustrations, but the finished produces had no resemblance to the pictures of them. It was frustrating, but I knew it would be as I had learned from experience I can put almost anything together by following the word directions and not the picture directions.  There’s that old left brain in action.

When I was kid in elementary school, we had art every couple of weeks. It alternated with music. There was no music teacher and there was no art teacher. The teacher or the nun I had did it all. Sister Hildegarde, my eighth grade teacher, had music class more often than once every other week. She had a keyboard which one of my classmates played. She also had pitch pipe which was round and had the keys listed next to the hole to blow. She’d blow the note then start us off with the first line. She sang so badly we had to hide behind our music books so she wouldn’t catch us laughing at her. I think it was also in her class I learned Gregorian chant notes. We even had tests of reading and writing chant.

I don’t remember much about my art classes. The only one I remember is when we made paper mâché puppets. We also had to write a small play and team up with classmates. I made a devil, and it was the best thing I ever created in any art class.

As I grew older, I found out that words strung together in the right way created beauty, a beauty of language which conjured images and memories and feelings. It was my talent.

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10 Comments on ““Talent is useful, but always keep your dagger sharp.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We had one hour music and one hour art every week every year but had to chose between art and music when I started in High school. It was a tough choise since I loved both. I chose art and we had an art teacher who looked much like a troll painted by the Swedish artist John Bauer. He was really good but he had the dialect people from Stockholm (our capital) have and that’s almost a mortal sin in Gothenburg 🙂 🙂

    The snowfall started early here and it still falls outside but now it’s the kind of flakes that can fall all day but never seem to land anywhere, I like those 🙂

    Have a great day and Happy New Year 🙂


    • katry Says:

      We never had enough art in elementary school. In high school we could elect an art and a music, but I never chose either as I was so bad at each. I never missed not having them.

      I like those storms too. Usually the road stays clear and I can sweep away the snow on the steps and walkway. My sister’s snow should disappear tomorrow as it will be really warm, but I’m glad we didn’t get any.

      Happy New Year to you too!!

  2. Hedley Says:

    Sounds, notes, music and worship. The pleasure of repetition somehow gives moments of reenforcement of belief. Something I learnt as a child brings comfort and reassurance in “later” years. Down the St John Fisher Chapel we are blessed with a lovely choir that is dynamic and brings a great deal to service.

    It’s games night for us as well, slumped on the sofa watching the action from pyong…pchong…..South Korea. I saw a figure skater slam in to the boards on Friday night, and then land two unbelievable quintuple whatever’s on his posterior. It made be laugh, I am sure it was wrong but I do like the crashes.

    It is Lent, I have given up road rage, I will sit patiently behind those on my route who are texting, and FaceTiming and eating cereal.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I have the comfort of my home, the closeness of dear friends, my wonderful sisters and my books, all of which give me reassurance. My friends and I have these wonderful celebrations which we do every year. They have become traditions. My friends have become family.

      Good luck on the road rage. That seems to be an in-born rather than acquired behavior.

      When I was kid, I used to give up stuff like candy. Now I don’t usually give up anything. There aren’t enough choices left.

      I love perfect ice routines, but I also enjoy falls, the ones which have them sliding across the ice and then almost running to catch up with their partners who have continued the routine.

  3. flyboybob Says:

    I finally made it home last night from Toronto and today the sky is cloudy with light rain and a high of 60 F degrees. That’s about 30 degrees warmer than it was yesterday in Canada.

    My sister is a retired art teacher in Tampa. Unfortunately, she has little talent as an artist. I think her degree is in pottery. I used to continually tease her over the internet that art is a useless subject and that our kids need more math, science and technology to compete with the Chinese kids. I don’t do that any longer because I don’t communicate with her because she is an avid Trumpster. 🙁 What would you expect from someone who’s only talent is playing with clay. 🙂 Of course I loved both art and music classes when I was in school. I think developing an introduction to music classical music, not the junk my 20 year old son listens to, and having appreciation of art is part of what makes us a complete person.

    I’m not a big fan of the winter Olympics but watching them in Toronto was fun because the Canadians actually excel in those sports.

    • katry Says:

      That’s nice, gaining 30˚, in one plane ride. We might have it even warmer that 60˚tomorrow.

      I am a pottery fan. I always said when I’d have my first house, my dishes would all be pottery. I found a potter who made everything I needed. Later I found another, a quite famous potter, whose pieces could be used on the stove, in the oven or microwave. They’re expensive but I use the pieces all the time, to cook and serve on.

      I am a museum freak. We were taken to them by my parents so I love wandering though the rooms and exhibits. I remember my first free weekend during training in Ghana. I went to Accra and the national museum.

      I have been watching skating and snowboarding.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Have fun tonight!
    The new Year of the Dog calls for a celebration 🙂

    • katry Says:

      We had a great evening. I brought the Chinese food, and we had a craft night. We put together Chinese lanterns and pictures of Chinese characters then made the frames. The evening was really fun but my lack of art talent was reinforced.

  5. Caryn O'Keefe Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We had an art teacher who came once a week. Her supplies were in a little pushcart that she wheeled from classroom to classroom. I was jealous of her because her small tin box of 8 Crayola crayons was always shiny new and the white lining inside never had any crayon marks. Her crayons were always perfect; sharp points, no torn papers, no broken crayons. Ours were pretty much the opposite of that. She used to tie a small kerchief around her neck in the fashion of 50’s young adults. I remember wondering if someone had cut her throat at some point and she was hiding the surgical scar. Yeah, I was a weird little kid. 🙂

    We had music more often. We had singing and flute-a-phone lessons which were really just to teach us how to read music. For a short period of time in second grade, I had violin lessons in school. I decided that I would rather have Thursday morning recess than play the violin so I gave it up.

    The storm dumped 5 inches on us up here. It was an easy clear out though. I did my sidewalk and a spot for the dogs. I helped my neighbor do her walkway. We left the driveways for the plow guy figuring that if he didn’t show up, we could just drive over it. He came later on. Most of it has melted now.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      There were no instrument instructions in elementary schools, even the pubic schools. I didn’t even know anyone who played. I met a few in high school who had had private instructions for the piano. We did have a rhythm band when I was in the second grade. I played sticks. We did have a store room which held art supplies. We used to go and gather what we needed for class.

      Right now it is warmer than it had been all day. I guess tomorrow is supposed to be really warm so your snow should disappear. When I woke up this morning I was surprised to see no snow. I know it was raining, but I thought it would change overnight. I’m not complaining, just surprised.

      I took my splint off today, and my arm hurt when I turned it. I hope that’s acceptable and normal for a fracture.

      Have great day

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