Pour un Instant

6 Apr

My daily afternoon walks to the park with Richard are always interesting. There are the things people we see: walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, ducks, cats on leashes, neo-hippies, tightrope walkers – it is Portland after all! These might not be the norm in every park, but they are in ours. Yesterday, brought something new: a young woman playing a harmonium.

A lot of musicians fill the park. Some cyclists carry radios and you get a snippet of a song as they roll past. There’s a guy who comes with a small keyboard, records tracks, and accompanies himself on a trumpet. Thursday and Friday afternoons, when the weather is nice, band perform beside the dog off-leash area. But yesterday’s harmonium was novel.

I actually had to look up the correct word. As I walked past the performer, I called it a hurdy-gurdy in my head. She was seated on a blanket near the pond. That’s a real gathering place for groups of friends and families. It is also the sunniest spot in the park.

When I learned that the instrument was actually called a harmonium, my mind took a little trip back to the 1970s. In grade six, our French teacher, Madame Murray, introduced our class to the music of a French-Canadian group called Harmonium. The one song I specifically remember was called Pour Un Instant.

It’s funny what you can remember after over 40 years. Everything is on Youtube now, so I sought out the song.The tune was not quite what I remembered, but I nailed the first two lines. For an instant, as I listened, I was back in my 6th grade classroom, looking at the words, loving the French language.

8 Responses to “Pour un Instant”

  1. arjeha April 6, 2021 at 7:03 am #

    I always find it amazing what one thing can trigger a memory from long ago. Truthfully, I didn’t know what a harmonium was so I looked it up.

  2. edifiedlistener April 6, 2021 at 8:09 am #

    I, too, was wondering what shape a harmonium might take. If it might be a horn similar to my son’s euphonium but alas, no it’s something different but at the mention of French, I can suddenly hear that distinct sound I associate with cliche images of Paris. With the memory you take us right back with you to 6th grade.

  3. hzreflections April 6, 2021 at 10:20 am #

    What a fun surprise with even better memories. 🙂

  4. Shaista April 6, 2021 at 2:09 pm #

    I chanced upon the 1952 Jack and the Beanstalk today. I first watched it as a kid when it was still thirty years old. The music, the dialogue, it was all still so fresh in my mind, I could talk along with the characters! Ah, memories!

    • Adrienne April 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm #

      It’s amazing how much comes back!

  5. Lisa Corbett April 6, 2021 at 3:55 pm #

    That sounds like a lovely way to spend a walk in the park! Does Richard sing along with the music?

    • Adrienne April 6, 2021 at 4:35 pm #

      He hasn’t yet.

  6. Melanie White April 6, 2021 at 4:42 pm #

    Harmonium! This slice conveys such a lovely image of Portland and it’s interesting how much sound can evoke memories.

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