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Monday, November 2, 2015

Playing Piano

I’m a piano player.
That sounds really good, so I’ll say it again . . .
I’m a piano player.
My problem is, the only piano I can play is my own.
Maybe I should explain . . .
I’ve always loved the piano. I would sit and listen for hours to someone who can really play. Classical, modern, ragtime. You name it – I would happily listen.
In an effort to get to that level of expertise, I even condescended to taking lessons. Oh, not for very long. My ADD wouldn’t allow for any extensive concentration.
But for a while, about when I was 12, the piano and I were very good friends.
Fast forward several years, a marriage and a few children.
Husby, the kids and I were driving through Lethbridge, Alberta.
Suddenly, Husby made a sudden – and quite violent – right-hand turn.
I looked at him questioningly as I clutched at the door handle.
He merely pointed toward a white, hand-lettered sign tacked to the light pole we were just passing. It read: Garage Sale. There followed a list of items. Then, right at the end, someone had scrawled in large letters: Player Piano.
Okay, yes, I knew what a player piano was. Husby loved them. We had even tried out a few of the modern, electronic does-it-all-for-you types at local music stores. Then noted the (for us) astronomical price and fled.
This time, with a private seller, he must have been hoping our chances were better.
He was right.
It proved to be the home of a dear friend’s parents.
And soon the deal had been made.
We were the proud new owners of a player piano.
The story doesn’t end there.
Buying the great hunk of furniture and actually laying claim to it proved to be two separate stories. For example: The sellers had finished their basement after they had installed the piano. There was no way that sucker was ever coming out of there whole.
It took a piano expert to completely dismember our acquisition to get it up the stairs.
And that was merely the first hurdle.
From there, we had to figure out where to put the thing. We lived in a 14 X 24 house at the time. (I am not making this up.) We barely had room for us and our four children.
No great problem for Husby. He happily found a place to store it until we moved someplace bigger.
Perhaps that piano is the reason he found someplace bigger. I never thought of that.
Moving on . . .
Our sweet little townhouse in Edmonton, Alberta, soon had a proud focal point.
Our beautiful, oak, mahogany-jacketed, Heintzman, 1916, real-ivory-keyed, lead-piped, foot-pumping marvel of music-producing ingenuity.
And, for the first time - ever - I could play the piano.
More stories to come . . .

12 comments:

  1. I took one look at that picture of the piano and thought to myself, "she can't play the piano, she can run a player piano." It\s a beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My partner's parents had one of those. They loved it. And I never knew they were called player pianos.
    On the piano front, said partner tells me that there is a piano at Amsterdam Railway station. Anyone can wander up and play it. He listened enthralled as a teenager played for half an hour or more. Here? I think it would be vandalised.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's probably the only piano I could play too. I'm kind of musically challenged. I hear it in my head but my fingers are deaf. Stone deaf!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My fingers, too! I told my mom the notes wouldn't come off the page for me!

      Delete
  4. @EC; we often have decorated pianos set in odd places around Adelaide during our Art Festival season, anyone can sit down and play, I think in all the years I've seen them, only one person has sat and played. Everyone else just walks by and says "what a great idea."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're all too self-conscious. Hmmm . . . let's hear it for a little unconsciousness! :)

      Delete
  5. I tried to play the piano when I was a kid, even took lessons, but it turns out I am all thumbs when it comes to musical instruments. I love to listen though. I'm still stuck at 14 x 24! Hubby and I lived in a two room apartment when we first had the youngest. It was about the same size. Funny thing is we have the best memories from that place. We didn't have a car or anything, but we still had such fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it true, Rena?! We have such good memories of that tiny place! I learned to organize a house, I'll tell you. We had an acquaintance stop by to offer her laundry and I pointed to my washer and drier in the furthest corner of my little one-room home. Her mouth dropped open. I didn't bother to show her the dishwasher that formed my only counter. All the conveniences. Just none of the space! :)

      Delete
  6. Player piano ... piano player ... technicalities ... :)

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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