New Instrument

I unwrapped a banjo.  I didn't want to be ungrateful.  Still, I didn't want to be a fool either.  On my 41st birthday I unwrapped a banjo.  And it scared me.  With its white round belly and stump of a thumb. I didn't want to be ungrateful.  But it scared me, how it held itself so steady.  I didn't want to be a fool either.

I told my son and daughter when we were sitting on the porch in the sun, that I didn't think I wanted that banjo they gave me for my 41st birthday.  Why not? they asked.  I told them I didn't want to be ungrateful, but it scared me.

Just pick it up and play it, Mom.  Don't worry about being wrong.  Just pick it up.  And play it.

And I thought about all that I'd unwrapped and all that I'd unraveled and all that I'd regretted and all that I'd taken and all that I'd forgotten and all that I'd feigned and all that I'd ruined and all that I'd blighted and all that I'd spilled and all that I'd blamed and all that I'd forsaken and all that I'd ashamed.

I'd been a fool before.  I'd be a fool again.  But for the time being, I'd play a banjo I unwrapped for my 41st birthday.  And I'd be grateful.


  1. Happy banjo birthday Joanna! You will enjoy this more than you think you will and your family is very sweet for knowing that about your talent and your creative self.

    1. That's good news coming from a banjo-rich family!