What is it in the American family that makes anyone decide that piano lessons must go on the docket? Surely very few little kids pipe up that, after a hard day on the kindergarten teeter-totter, they’re eager to play Chopin’s Barcarolle? And parents? How many parents are really disposed to writing weekly or monthly checks for the lessons, shouting up the stairs for their tykes to come down to practice, then having to listen to half an hour of what sounds like a rampaging beaver chasing a gerbil over the piano keys? It makes no sense.

And yet we do it, seemingly, grudgingly. In the fall of 1991, washed ashore on the Island, my second-grader, Charlie and I took the boat off to Wood’s Hole where a dapper, middle-aged man in a station wagon met us, drove us up to his house in North Falmouth where he kept a basement full of used pianos. (Goodness, isn’t this starting to sound like a sequel to Silence of The Lambs?)

We picked out an agreeably old and distressed upright made by the organ company, Baldwin. A few days later, a couple of big friendly guys delivered the wooden beast to our house in East Chop. I had a migraine that day. “Could you please put it over there?” I languidly waved to a window in our dining room that looked out over a field to Crystal Lake, before I collapsed back onto the sofa.

The name of Brian Hughes was given us, and we later learned that Charlie was his first pupil. Later when Brian acquired a whole roster of students, enough to stage an annual master class, I used to goad him into admitting that Charlie was his cutest pupil. He always shook his head that I would even think to ask, but secretly he must have been signaling “Yes.”

In those days Brian and his partner, Lisa Rohn, herself a brilliant pianist, both gave lessons, each with his and her own baby grand piano, in their house on Sea Glen Road, across the way from the Norton farm stand. Lisa is now one of my dearest soulmates but, in those Sea Glen days, I was banned from the house; Lisa is deathly allergic to cats; I possessed two cats, so whatever feline cooties clung to my garments wreaked havoc if a few of them attached to Lisa and Brian’s living room couch.

So through the years Charlie soldiered on with his lessons, and even managed a haphazard schedule of daily practice on the old upright. He was dutiful, never passionate. Passion was the province of some of his classmates who took up musical instruments and worked their love of music into their livelihoods — Jonas Budris, Sam Morris, Maxwell Butler, to name a few.

Charlie played Mozart and Joplin and jazz. He performed with finesse, without flourish, in master classes. It was his choice to keep on taking classes. Because his dad and I were such mush-balls as authoritarians, we never forced him and, in fact, said periodically, “You don’t have to continue with piano lessons, if you don’t want to.” For some mysterious reason, he did. Continue, that is. There was no telling if he wanted to.

For one thing, he loved Brian. During Charlie’s teens, Brian was the grownup guy in his life, the cool older bro who sneered at all the right things, and who listened without judgment, eased up on the advice, yet offered some snappy insights about girls. You might say that Brian helped Charlie — and many of his other pupils as well — over the terrible bump of life called adolescence while, at the same time, never dropping a single E-sharp or F-major.

Brian, you understand, sees the universe in the keyboard. He knows that if you tap the highest C note, all the other C’s subtly vibrate, not only on this piano sitting before you, but possibly vibrating C notes in the farthest reaches of the galaxies.

So flash forward to a neglected upright piano in Oak Bluffs, finally donated to a fledgling Brazilian church congregation in need of an instrument, a young man off at university in Boston, then off in life in the movie industry in Los Angeles. Brian and Lisa now reside in a Victorian house just down from Our Lady Star of the Sea. Each of them still gives lessons, still plays amazing sonatas, waltzes and nocturnes on a baby grand piano, composing, performing, dreaming.

And now that I myself have been cat-free for several years, Lisa and I can meet, hug, and chat until we’ve scaled a few shared philosophical heights, then go our separate ways.

But here’s the epilogue to the lost piano lessons: I’m visiting my son at his wonderful old shabby chic apartment in the Loz Feliz foothills of Los Angeles, which, if you need a description of the area, is Raymond Chandler déjà vu all over again. There’s a nook off Charlie’s front room and on the built-in counter sits an electronic keyboard. A stool rests below and, on an overhead shelf, a rack holds a book of music, its pages open to — are you ready for this? — Hey, Jude by Paul McCartney!

“Playing music is keeping me sane,” reports Charlie, who has been tickling the ivories after a long day of reading scripts, organizing e-mails and bringing his producer double café lattes over-easy-with-a-cherry-on-top.

Brian Hughes is overjoyed — actually, for those who know Brian, “overjoyed” translates to, “Hey . . . uh . . . okay” that one of his errant pupils has taken up the challenge once more. And we’ve already established that each future Island visit of the native son will include a lesson with the master.

Okay, so while we’re still floating in celestial themes, Easter Sunday Worship, April 8 will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in Trinity Church in Oak Bluffs. All are welcome.

And don’t forget there’s always something fun and/or instructive going on at the library. On Saturday, March 24, the Chess Group will meet at 10 a.m.