Rum Boogie Cafe / Piano Lessons

Rum Boogie Cafe

I don’t think that the Rum Boogie Cafe in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, is exactly my kind of place. First off, I don’t drink rum. Second, I don’t boogie. I would probably just end up embarrassing myself, as well as those with me. And if I did boogie, I probably wouldn’t do it in a cafe.

But never mind all of that. The Rum Boogie Cafe is a bit of a Memphis landmark. And as we passed by on the Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s, I thought the building looked especially interesting. The large mural painted on the side, as places of business used to do in the old days, was intriguing. And the neon colors and bright canopy stood out on the rainy day.

So as we walked by, I took a quick shot, and this is how it turned out. No rum or boogie involved.

Click for a larger view

Photo location: Downtown Memphis, Tennessee

HDR from two exposures (the +2 exposure was too blurry from my walking), tonemapped in Photomatix, edited in GIMP

Piano Lessons

Back during the summer, Jaylin started taking piano lessons. In just the few months that he has been working at it, he has already come a long way. It makes me proud to hear him play a song that he has learned, especially now that he has moved on to playing with both hands at the same time.

His lessons remind me of my days of piano lessons. Like Jaylin, I started taking piano lessons when I was in the second grade. We had a piano in the house, and I begged my parents to let me take lessons. They finally gave in.

My first piano teacher was a lady that a girl in my class at school was taking lessons from, so I think that’s how we found her. I do remember those early days of learning the notes on the piano. And I remember that the teacher and her husband both smoked like trains. Like those old steam trains that blow heavy smoke on a old winter day. I only took lessons from her for one year, and my lungs have been saying thanks ever since then. However, I do still remember the song I played in my first piano recital, a simple little melody given my skill at the time. I could probably sit down and play it now, actually.

My second piano teacher was our song leader at church. He lived in a big old house that we called the Annex, which was next to our church building. And since the private school I attended was also at our church building, I could walk over to the Annex for lessons after school. He was a funny guy, and he was fun to learn the piano from. And he didn’t smoke, so that was a plus, too. I remember that he encouraged me to pick out a song by ear and write out the music for it. So I chose the theme to “Dallas.” Ah, the 80s.

That teacher moved away after a couple of years, and I took lessons from my final piano teacher. She was quite a piano player, and could play just about anything you put before her. She was also the organist at the nearby Baptist church, and she would occasionally show us her organ playing skills as well, which always amazed me because she could play the two different keyboards, along with using her feet for the bass notes on the foot pedals. That took coordination! She had a contest to see who could memorize the most songs. That sort of thing always came easy to me anyway, so I won for my age group. I still have my prize, too - a small scale version of the famous bust of Beethoven.

Once I was in high school, I stopped piano lessons to be in the high school band. And things seemed just a bit simpler when I had to read one note at a time, because that was all you could play on a trombone. But I was thankful that I already had a musical background.

I still play the piano quite often, mostly just for my own enjoyment. And sometimes, I wonder just a bit how things might have been different if I had taken it a bit more seriously than I did. But I don’t know if a life of playing in places like the Rum Boogie Cafe would have been right for me.

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.