For my visit with my husband's family, I brought along my new Native American drum earrings, a Christmas gift from my friend and colleague Debbie. Tiny, hand-stitched, made of leather and wood and painted by hand.
During our visit, we're staying in my sister-in-law Beth's music room, home to her paino and the wide array of musical instruments that she collected during her career as an elementary music teacher.
Hanging on the wall next to our bed is this Alaskan drum that Beth received as a gift from her daughter Marianne who has spent 7 years teaching in Alaska.
On the floor stands another drum which has been played in many of Beth's concerts, both by children at school, in her community choir, her adult chorus, and her church choirs.
In this family, music is a way of life. Beth, my husband John, and their other two brothers all have earned their living as professional musicians, teaching and performing. Both of their parents played flute. Their mother's singing was an inspirational part of their childhoods.
For Christmas, Beth gave her granddaughter Hazel a set of drums, just like ones she used to use in her classroom.