December 16, 2010

Beethoven’s Birthday, Among Other Things…

240 years ago, a baby was born in the snowy terrain of a middle country. His hair was curly and full on his head and came forth into the world with a bright look in his eyes. No one knew then what they would understand later, but this baby boy would one day do great things with his life. He’d write great music, he’d conduct amazing symphonies, and his greatest accomplishment of all…he’d become a dog walker.

Okay, the last part isn’t true, but for a moment, imagine if Beethoven decided to make a career change forgoing the piano and the composing and picked up a dog leash (or four and five) and became a dog walker. Would our lives today be that much different if he had? I, for one, think the job of dog walker would have been elevated to a higher status and that dogs around the world would benefit from such an esteemed man like Beethoven being the face of dog walking throughout history.

Alas, Beethoven, while he may have lived with a dog or two, never picked up a leash (or leashes), but instead picked up a pen and a thick piece of paper and wrote down tiny dots and squiggles that turned into some of the most amazing music known to humans (though, in fact, I like it too).

Why am I writing about Beethoven today? Well, December 16, by some accounts, was the date of birth of the great composer. Some say it was December 17, but in this house we celebrate the 16th as Beethoven’s official birthday. In his honor, we went out to dinner (well, I waited in the car) and then came home and ate coconut ice cream. You might think it’s weird that we celebrated this man, but if you knew the REAL REASON (one I’m not allowed to write about!), you’d understand.

Yes, I know I’m being particularly secretive, but I don’t want to make certain people (if you catch my drift) angry by letting you know that certain people and Beethoven share something in common. Nope, today wasn’t supposed to be anything special (except for the dinner and dessert celebration).

It was just supposed to be business as usual, but all day long, as we walked Gemma first…where we looked out over the lake at the mountains to the north and east and the brave ducks in winter…

…then Rosie…who posed with me in front of Mt. Rainier…way off in the distance and then drooled at the thought of a cookie reward…

…and finally Saber…who tried to sing all the parts of Ode to Joy…

…while I sang along with the Beethoven soundtrack in my head — Moonlight Sonata, the Fifth Symphony, and my personal favorite, the Ninth Symphony. Why is it my favorite? Because I think it would make a great soundtrack for a video about me playing in a big open field filled with knee-deep snow!

Not that it’s all about me…certainly not on this day…but on this particular day I like to remember Beethoven and his music as a way of honoring someone else’s monumental birthday.

Ouch! Gretchen just gave me a whack on my shoulder. I guess she didn’t like the word monumental. Geez…some people!

Until tomorrow,


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