A pleasant surprise.

Yesterday, amidst all the hustle and bustle of preparing for my party, someone began walking up the steps. My mom looked out the window and exclaimed "Vanessa, it's Mrs. Smith! She has something for you it seems."

Thinking it was Shauna Smith, my eyes welled up. I didn't think she would care that much for me. But as the arm reached across the window to ring the doorbell, it wasn't the Mrs. Smith arm that I knew so well. It was a different Mrs. Smith.

It was my very first violin teacher ever. It was that Mrs. Smith.

I was overcome with an emotion I cannot adequately describe. She sparked my love for the violin and for music. I remember going to her home that smelled like old grandma and sitting down in her living room, to her right, playing on a wire stand. She taught me when to play on the red tapes and when to play on the white tapes and how it corresponded to notes on a page. She taught me how to shift into half, second, and third position. Having no musical background at the time, I have no idea how she taught me how to play the beautiful instrument.

As she walked through my front door, her fluff of white hair was so familiar to me. Her face hadn't changed. Her voice hadn't changed. It was the Mrs. Smith I've known for 11 years.

She brought me a gift. A graduation gift. It was a CD of Jenny Oaks Baker. I have listened to the whole thing three times since I got it yesterday afternoon. It is a beautiful CD with incredible arrangements of well-known hymns. It will never get old.

But the thing that struck me was this: I was overcome with gratitude towards this woman. Little did she know that when she began teaching me at age 7 that I would be in the position I am now, having played in venues such as Abravanel Hall, the Salt Lake and Provo tabernacles, the Lincoln Center in NYC, and many other out-of-state and in-state competitions. She was the catalyst for all of these amazing accomplishments.

I will be forever grateful for her and for her diligence in instructing me in music. I know it's a hard thing to do. Trust me, I know.

Thank you Mrs. Smith for teaching me how to play the violin. You started me on the road that I'm following today. Because of you, I learned a beautiful instrument that has blessed my life in numerous ways.

Thank you.

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