At a certain point of my life I had an English Gentleman-Friend, Bill, who was always complimentary about my creative efforts. One day I revealed something new he didn’t know about. He said , “Oh, you mean you can do THAT, too?” Instantly annoyed, I replied,”Ha! You should hear me play the harp!”
The Fates were listening. Bill still belonged to a Folk Boat organization that held dinners once a month in members’ homes throughout Southern California, although most of the members had moved on from the wooden folk boats, and he had graduated himself to a 30 foot Rawson sailboat from Seattle.
When an invitation to the next dinner came to be held in Newport Beach. Bill wasted no time in telling his host friend there that I played the harp, because he knew there was an Irish harp in the house. Mid week before the dinner, Bill informed me that his friend was polishing the instrument, getting it ready for me. Having heard me play the piano, Bill was confident of my harp playing skills.
You know the expression, “In for a penny, in for a pound,”? I decided to hang on to my “fib” until the bitter end, saying nothing, and sincerely hoping I would somehow squeak by.
He packed his famous guitar in the car as we departed, saying that they asked him for a few Flamenco pieces. (The guitar was famous by being used in Blood and Sand by Rita Hayworth,)
Upon arrival, drinks and appetizers right away, then dinner, moving steadily toward the entertainment. Suddenly Bill appeared, guitar in hand, saying, “We are leaving. They insist I play and I don’t want to, ” and out the door we went, roaring back to Los Angeles in his grey Porsche. I did not say a word. Invisible clumps of relief were bouncing all around me in the car and I vowed up and down to myself I would never try such a stunt again however innocent the beginning was. Nor did I ever say another word about harp playing.
One of these days I will find myself sitting next to a harp, with a teacher telling me about playing, and you know what, I’ll bet I can play the harp! But the best lesson was learning to keep my mouth closed.
In retrospect, did Bill know what was up all the time?