Lullaby of Birdland

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is flute.

I have played flute since fourth grade. This pastel was done by my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway, in 1980. We lived in Alexandria, Virginia. I am playing flute and Johnny Johnson is on trumpet. My father played trumpet too. Johnny was trying to teach me to improvise. I had not listened to much jazz and was not very good at it. I was well trained in classical flute and could read music. Johnny said, “No, just LISTEN.” I did learn it and can still play it.

One night the three of us were playing. We had a knock on the door. It was an Alexandria policeman. “We have had a complaint about the loud party.”

We looked at him blankly. My father says, “Well, you are looking at it.”

“Three of you?” says the policeman.

“Two trumpets and a flute.” says my father. “We can make a lot of noise.”

“Hmm.” says the policeman. “Well, um, could you keep it down a little?”

“Yes,” says my father, “It is after 10, so we will play more quietly.”

The policeman left and we did.

My mother’s pastel is titled “Lullaby of Birdland”.