The Piano

When we were gone in San Diego last week, Janet and I had all our hardwood floors refinished. We have been through this ordeal before – years ago when we purchased a new home and the builder begged us to let him have an open house for realtors before we took occupancy. To cut to the chase, one of the agents had a broken high heel and made hundreds of marks in the brand new floor during the event. The damage was so bad that all the floors had to be sanded and refinished. What a mess! So you can imagine that we were not anxious to go through this again.

However, we are dog lovers and so we understand the added wear and tear that our pets have added to the house over the years. But it’s worth it – we’re animal people. Additionally, we have always loved dark floors, but the home we are in now came with natural finished floors and we saw no reason to go through this dusty process until we had to. Thank God it’s over, and by the way, the floors turned out great. We’re thrilled. But it was touch and go for a while as we chose a color from some samples and then left for a week. Pat, our dear friend who watches our home for us, supervised the effort.

For several days before the flooring folks were scheduled to arrive, we removed all the small stuff from the first floor. Then, the piano movers came and packed up our parlor grand piano, secured it to a dolly and stored our piano in the garage, where the rest of our furniture; including sofas, chairs, tables and ottomans were also scheduled to be stored during our project.

Once the piano was out of the house, I started to think about letting our grandsons use it to practice, as two of them are already taking lessons and they really don’t have any place convenient to play their songs. So, we called Kristin and offered her use of the piano, as long as the kids were careful and it didn’t get damaged. Mind you, this is not a gift, but a loan. After all, we have three children and certain sentimental things have value to all of them. But for now, this seems like a good solution. The grandchildren will have a convenient place to play and we no longer need the instrument in our home. In fact, it will make it easier for our Bible study on Thursday evenings.

I wasn’t prepared, however, for all the memories that came flooding back to me. You see, when I was a young boy, I took piano lessons myself. Each day, I travelled to my grandparents home to practice and really didn’t like it very much. But the time I got over there, practiced and returned home, it took much of the time after school and things would have been much easier if we would have had a piano in our own home.

Finally, my grandparents allowed Mom to move their piano into our home, and I was thrilled. After all, it was a Kimball baby grand, built in 1923, and was the piano my mother learned to play on. She was a great pianist and took lessons from her early childhood into her twenties. I remember hearing her play when I was young. Years later, she stopped playing, but never lost her love of that piano.

When Janet and I got married and purchased our first house, I asked mom for the piano and she turned me down. In fact, she eventually sold it outside the family and I was really angry about it. She was right that we couldn’t afford to get it refinished or keep it tuned properly but it was really hurtful to me and I remember that event so vividly in my mind’s eye. So Janet and I bought our own piano, a 1924 Kimball parlor grand, as close to the one I learned to play on as I could find. And we’ve had it ever since – until it was delivered to Kristin’s home on Tuesday….

So I have some mixed feelings. I am thrilled for the kids, as I remember how I felt so many years ago when I was the child – not the grandfather. But I am a little sad at the memory of my mother selling the piano that I so much wanted for myself. I know that it was hers to do with as she saw fit, but it didn’t reduce the hurt at all. And now I see from a different perspective – these things are less important to me than they are to our children. While I can’t understand the attachment from my viewpoint today, I remember the days when all I could think of was when Mom would hand that piano down to me. It never happened. And it occurs to me that as a parent, sometimes I don’t realize the impact that my decisions have on all our children – not just one of them.

So I have made peace with the memory of my mother and the piano through this project. It was an unexpected blessing and now things are good. Kristin called and asked if I wanted to come over and see the piano in her living room. As I walked in, I was overwhelmed with two generations of memories. I sat down at the keyboard and fiddled around a little – playing some of the music I learned as a boy. I was frustrated at how lousy I play. That hasn’t changed. And while I want to think that some day I will start lessons again and really learn to play, I don’t think that is in the cards. We have grandchildren who have their entire lives ahead of them, and we can help get them started on something that I never completed.

The verse for tonight is from Ps. 135:13, “Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, through all generations.” Because some things never change. The Lord endures forever. My encouragement tonight is to let you know that we are charged with the care and education of the generations coming behind us. My prayer is that you will bring them up in the ways of the Lord and that you will teach them that the love of the Lord endures forever. Amen.

By the way, Kristin has decided to start taking lessons again with the boys. Her first lesson is in the morning. And she’s really jazzed about it – praise the Lord.

Comments (2)

  • Sue Butcher says:

    I also have a piano story although not as “grand” as yours. My Aunt Odessa taught 3rd grade for over 40 years and she lived to see her 100th birthday. She was a wonderful Christian woman and had an upright piano that she used in her class room. After her retirement my niece, Leslie, started taking piano lessons so Aunt Odessa gave her piano to Leslie. Leslie is now a kindergarten teacher and the piano is now Nicole’s, my granddaughter.

  • Sue Butcher says:

    Gohmer also has a piano story. It is about Dorothy, an older lady who lives in assisted living facility, whom he helps and visits weekly. Dorothy was a very good piano player and when she moved back home to take care of her mother she decided to buy a piano. She went to a music store downtown Indianapolis to make her purchase. It so happen that Liberace had performed a concert in town the week before and this music store had donnated a piano for him to use. Dorothy was able to purchase that piano. She later donated it to her church.

 
 
 
 

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