When I was in the fourth grade my Dad bought me a piano. It was one of those huge, upright kinds with the mirror on the top. It was used but in my ten year old mind I thought it was the biggest and best piano in the world! I immediately began to take lessons and didn’t stop until my sophomore year of high school. In high school I played on Sundays and Wednesdays at the little Baptist church I attended.
After I got married and left home (yes, in that order) I could not wait to have a house so I could have my piano with me. When that day finally arrived, my Dad loaded up the piano in the back of his pickup truck and drove the 80 plus miles to bring it to me. It was so heavy he thought he there was no need to tie it down—big mistake. When he made a left turn the piano flipped out of the truck onto the road. Just imagine driving by and seeing someone frantically picking up “the ivories” and throwing them into the back of a truck. It must have been a funny sight, but it wasn’t funny to my Dad. My Dad knew nothing about music, but he was very proud of himself for picking this particular piano. Everyone who played it said it had a beautiful sound, so needless to say, he was just sick when saw it lying on the road in hundreds of pieces. I’m sure he said a few choice words when it happened, but he got over it quickly and made a plan. After loading up all the parts he found a guy about 15 miles from where I lived who fixed pianos and he immediately took it to him, before he ever came to our house! Remember, this was before cell phones and internet; I have no idea how he did it, but that was my Dad—the ultimate make-it-happen kind of guy!
We moved several times over the years and the piano always went with us until one day I decided that I was tired of the piano—it didn’t match my furniture, it took up too much space, it was hard to move and I really didn’t play it that much. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a piano; I just didn’t want THAT piano. My son Jeremy had a friend whose Mom wanted a piano really bad, so we worked out trade for her son to tutor Jeremy in exchange for the piano. So, in 1992, my piano again rode away in a pickup truck to its new home.
A year or so later we moved to our dream house and got a new piano. It was a little spinet; and yes, it matched my furniture, but it sure didn’t have the big, clear sound that my old piano had. This piano didn’t stay in the family very long. It wasn’t because it didn’t look good or match my furniture; I had to sell it to pay bills. A lot had changed since my old piano left. I was a now a single parent and my Dad had died of cancer. Why did I get rid of my Dad’s piano? I can’t tell you how many times I asked myself that question. I am sure my Dad was really hurt when I gave it away; but he never said anything.
Many years have passed; I think about my Dad and the piano almost every time I see an old upright piano and I say to myself, “Why did I get rid of my Dad’s piano?” As time has marched on and the grandkids have arrived I have thought many times of what it would be like to have that old piano around for Christmas carols and birthday songs. I have even mentioned to my kids, “I wish I could get my piano back.”
Yesterday I returned home from a week-long trip with the grandkids. It had been a long day of driving and I couldn’t wait to get home. It was going to be especially quiet because my husband Harry was away on a business trip. When I drove down the winding road to my house I noticed my daughter Krista’s car. It was parked in a funny spot. What was she doing at my house? As I got closer, I saw my son-in-law Larry’s work truck and really became confused—why are they at my house?
I quickly got out of the car; the door was locked. “What is going on” I thought. I rushed to unlock the door and hurried in to see; I could not believe it, a piano — MY piano — MY DAD’S PIANO! Where did it come from, how did they do it, who did it? I was in shock. All I knew was that my piano that I thought was gone forever was home.
I guess my kids were listening to my lamenting over the years. About a month before my birthday they decided it would be a great birthday present to buy the piano back from Jeremy’s friend’s Mom. So, my younger daughter Krista wrote a letter, took it to the piano’s owner’s house, and taped it on the front door because no one was home. In the letter she explained the desire of her and her brother and sister to buy back the piano for my birthday.
This sweet woman said yes, to my childrens’ offer!
After about 15 minutes of asking questions and finding out how this miracle came to be, it hit me, “I’m sitting on the same bench in front of the same piano my Dad bought me 44 years ago AND my children loved me enough to make it happen.”—The tears began to flow and as my husband Harry will tell you, “this girl doesn’t cry very often.” I know and have always known that my children love and appreciate me. I also know that my Dad loved me but now I have something tangible, my piano to remind me of their love forever.