Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Old Piano

The old piano is now in my parents' garage, awaiting a new home
I couldn't have been more than five the day the piano showed up.  It was one of the great surprises our parents liked to do for us kids.  In those early years it was covered with a bumpy white naugahyde, and the piano looked like something you might see in the lounge of a restaurant in the 1950s.  Dad and Mom eventually took it apart, refurbished the keys and strings, and recovered it in walnut formica.  It was the centerpiece of our living room.

The top of the piano was always a focal point for our Christmas decorations, with spun glass "angel hair" covering the top and the shelf, small lights reflecting in the mirror, and a collection of porcelain choir boys and angels on display.  That's how it was, except the year that we had to put the Christmas tree on top of the piano so the twins wouldn't knock it down!

Tom and I took piano lessons from George Rhoads, the grandfather of church friends, and the spitting image of the Rainier Beer Brewmaster.  He came to our house each week and guided us through an hour of piano.  He was a gentle, good teacher, but I wasn't ready for the structure of the lessons, and struggled to make progress.  I quit piano lessons.

Eventually all five of us kids had at least a few lessons, and each of us learned to play.  As for me, it took a couple more teachers and a lot of determination.  I would sit down to play and, chord by chord struggle through an entire hymn, taking so long that no one could remember what the song was supposed to be by the time I reached the end.  After years of dogged determination, I got to the place where I can play decently.

As an adult I bought a piano from my friends Danny and Glenda.  It's also an upright, heavy and difficult to move.  So for years it was at the home of my friend Kris, waiting for us to reclaim it.  We'd had it back for a year or so and I'd walk past it several times a day but was always too busy to stop and play.  One particular day, in the midst of the stress and turmoil of life, I stopped at the piano rather than pass by.  A couple of notes just above middle C were stuck, so I started running my fingers over the notes an octave above.  I picked out a tune and found that a song came spilling out of me.  Playing it on the higher notes gave it a lightness, a sweetness that fit the melody.  Based on Psalm 23, I wrote a song that has quieted my heart on many occasions.

Other songs have followed.  Most flow out of a specific experience and are based on scripture.  It was a gift from the Lord that I never expected.

I'm no virtuoso, but I am so grateful for our old piano and the encouragement of my family to just play at my own pace.  Surely this is one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received.

1 comment:

Joan Husby said...

Beautiful story, Ginger. Isn't it wonderful the way God hides special gifts in us, so deep we don't even suspect them, then brings them out when the need is great? Your gifts have not only blessed you, but all who know you.