Flicka perched on the piano bench, squinting at a page of music.
“I can’t do it,” she said, flopping her hands onto the keyboard. She mashed the keys with her forehead. My girl’s drama skills dazzled me. Maybe she was better suited for the stage.
“You can do it,” I said. “But not all at once. Take one measure at a time.”
Four years of instruction were mandatory in our house. And each year, Flicka wrote No more piano lessons on her birthday and Christmas lists. Finally, her wish came true.
“Okay, you’re off the hook,” I announced.
She nearly squeezed out my innards. “Thank you, Mama. Thank you.”
Her sisters shared her opinion. Daily, I encouraged and cajoled and bribed them to practice. And most days, their tears dripped onto the keys. Where was their love of piano? Or their passion for making music?
Safe Families kids we hosted gravitated to the musical antique, and other guests sometimes plinked out melodies or showcased their talents on it too.
But mostly, the giant sat in silence.
It acted as a shelf for artwork and mail, coffee cups and car keys. It served as a backdrop for photos and a surface for dust. I needed its bench sometimes, which I scooted to the dining room table for extra seating.
“We should get rid of the piano,” Husband said after fifteen years of ownership. “No one’s playing it, and it just takes up space.”
“What?” My eyes widened. “No! Every house needs a piano.”
But I mulled over Husband’s suggestion as I chauffeured girls to badminton, volleyball, and softball. The thought of the piano’s absence rattled me, but the truth shook me more: We were a sports—and not music—family. My girls had traded scales for serves, chords for courts, and clefs for cleats. And by default, so had I. In spite of all my childhood piano lessons, I neglected the instrument too. It needed love and attention again.
I emailed Clark: We’re ready to let the piano go. Any idea who might want it?
He connected me with my second cousin Lars who lived with his family in a new house on the old homestead once belonging to Lars' grandparents, Chester and Helga, the original owners of the piano. Yes, Lars wanted the piano. Yes, he and his boys could come and get it. And yes, it would once again make a trip the length of Minnesota in an open trailer.
“Ready to make some music?” Husband said to Lars and his boys.
They inched the oak monstrosity through our front door and down the steps.
“Don’tletanyonegetcrushedDon’tletanyonegetcrushed,” I whispered, peeking through my fingers at their progress.
At last, our roommate of fifteen years creaked onto the trailer. The guys swaddled it in blankets and straps, tucking it in for the highway.
Goodbye, sweet tunes. Have a safe trip home.
Left photo: The piano looking on at story time. Right photo: The piano posing behind a masked Clark with a young Lars (the piano's new owner, left) and Maren (right).
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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.