Chapter 16 One Whole Year!
One whole year! Bainbridge Politaire! After the excitement of the afternoon had died down and supper had, Jimmy and Harry sought refuge in the one place that they knew that grownups would not be. This was in the old tree house in the ancient oak in Jimmy's backyard.
No one in the neighborhood knew how long it had been there or which owner of the big old house had built it, but whoever did built simply and built to last. It was as if a small log cabin had landed by some kind of magical act right in the middle of the open arms of the ancient oak tree.
“One whole year! Bainbridge Politaire!” The phrase sounded over and over in Harry's brain like a stuck Victrola record. They were the first words out of his mouth when the two settled to talk.
“One whole year! Bainbridge Politaire!”
Jimmy absently replied; “Uh-huh.”
Harry said; “Is that all you can say? The biggest star in all Hollywood is coming to town and all you can say is uh-huh?”
Jimmy just stared into the dark. Harry kept silent, waiting.
Finally, Jimmy spoke, “All I can think of is two things. One, that its gonna take a year for all this to happen - that's a long time, we'll be seventeen years old by then, and two, My Aunt Ethel.”
Harry said: “Wow! Your Aunt Ethel -- I was so excited about Bainbridge Politaire that I hadn't really thought about her yet.”
Jimmy said slowly, “I've never met her. Momma said it broke her heart when she left. Now she's changed her name and she's getting to be famous.”
"Wow!" said Harry, then subdued, “Wow.”
“There sure is a lot to think about, what with the theatre stuff comin' and goin' to Senior High School and all.” said Jimmy, still staring into the darkness.
“Mmm,” said Harry. Then with a hush in his voice he said, “We start our summer lessons again with Mr. Edwin next month!”
“You start lessons again next month. I'm not supposed to be taking any lessons, remember?” there was a bitter note in Jimmy's voice.
“Maybe not officially, but you're still going to take lessons aren't you? I mean, your mom is all for it even if it's something you're supposed to be keepin' from your dad. It's still exciting to be taking lessons, right?” probed Harry.
“Yeah, I'm lookin' forward to it, all right. Mr. Edwin said that he'll give me as many organ pieces to play as the piano stuff. An' there's gonna be a recital, too. Jeepers! Can you imagine gettin' to really play an organ -- in front of people?” said Jimmy with excitement in his voice.
“I wonder what that would be like!” said Harry, his voice growing faint.
Jimmy said in a whisper, “Me too . . .”
The two lie on their backs on the floor of the tree house and look up at the brilliant stars through the window. Each boy has a separate dream but the substance is the same.
Sunlight streams in jewel-colored ribbons of light through the crystalline peacock windows of a mighty house of worship. The mingled odors of warm polished woods, fine leathers, and bee's wax drift in the air. Hosts of shimmering pipes in graduated order, stand pointing gracefully toward heaven. There is absolute, serene silence. Here is the colossal console. Stops and keys and pedals are there to command. Row upon row of pews are complete with souls whose ears yearn to be filled with the glorious sound. The bench of the console is mounted. Stops are selected. Eyes are closed. Hands are raised. Heart, feet, and fingers seek to draw the music of the spheres out of the living, breathing pipes . . .
“Harry! Jimmy! Time to come in!”
Alas! The reverie is broken. Soap bubble colored dreams vaporize in liquid crystal showers. But dreams, being one part wish and another part hope, are kept safely in the heart and are apt to return, fresh and unharmed, whenever young boys close their eyes.