Monday, March 12, 2018

Pushing the Piano Home

I came across a small, chapel sized upright piano on its side last Monday in someones yard two hours before you had to leave to teach.
It was fate, i said. Something told me i needed to go out.
Snow and rain was coming.
It had to be now,
I said.
And without hesitation, you put on your coat and shoes and we walked hastily down the weathered sidewalk to save it from sure death at the hands of the hangings-on of winter rains and snow...
Somehow we moved it from where it stood tipped on its end by the owners front door and to the street by working together and walking it gently side to side to side.
Once we get it to the street i said,
Its all pretty much down hill from here....
And we looked toward home together. Surveying the potholes, dips and little inclines...
Bright yellow water tower marking our home like a giant pin on the grand map of our lives together.
We began to push.
A bit like guiding a renegade canoe i said, right?
A bit even like giving birth, it is.
We took turns being the steerer and the pusher, working together...stopping to rest when the other could go no longer.
Leaning on the piano for support.
Leaning on eachother.
Just think of how the children will love this, we said to one another, heavy breathing, laughing at the spectacle we must be with us and the loud rumbling of the piano going down the street.
We made it home.
And a weary high five went up.
We pushed that piano almost five blocks together. Didn't we dear?
What a story to pass along, right love?
A lesson in marriage, i said.
Right, you said between heavy breaths. We were winded and cold from the morning air, but often does an opportunity like this come along? We said.
A free piano.
I used to take lessons, you know. And you knew because I've only told you a million times over the last 10 years.
But you listened nonetheless, like it was the first time you ever heard it.
We lost a leg off the front of it in the last hundred yards or so. The vibration and rumbling was too much for that poor thing.
Nothing that can't be fixed, you said.
Nothing that can't be fixed.
Then i covered our prize with plastic and quilts and after you left for class the rain finally came.
I thought for certain our hard work was in vain.
And then i thought to myself, it was all about the journey together.
And even if our treasure got ruined outside in the elements, we would still have the memory.
Or perhaps we made someone watching from their window chuckle...or we gave someone a little hope...or a moment to simply forget for awhile and watch that crazy couple out there in the cold,
Pushing a piano home.


  1. It is all here, the love, the struggle, the music, and the beauty of life lived together. Each time you sit down at the piano, you will play the memory.

  2. Such a wonderful story Jennifer, filled with love, hope, and the best memories ever!

  3. I believe we were near the intersection of Saint Mary's and St George (well okay, the crossing street is named George, but I had to christen this story) when the pain in the chest arrived. And at that moment, I began to wonder if I would die, immersed in this sweet cold air, in the middle of doing something I never imagined doing.
    I looked around at what could have been my last scan of a tired old sidewalk, rolling over and pulling on its concrete sheet one more cold night; breaking off the edges near the feet of naked maple. I began to panic.
    Soon, I became fully conscious of my breathing, like the uneasy feel of a frozen lake beneath my feet when I am far away from the edge.
    But then,
    I saw you looking at the piano, like a young Van Gogh staring through the glass of an Arles café, wondering if people could see him on the other side; an incomparable person whose vision changed everything we define as beautiful and important.
    Watching you press your forehead against the old dusty wood, to catch your breath, you raised the lid to the row of keys and touched them all, each and every one, without a sound. I whispered to myself, this would have been a good time for my life to end watching the joy in your face as you peered through the soul of a piece of junk; the way you look at me, believing there is music left to play.

  4. This is wonderful, Jennifer. Michael is so right. It's the memory you will play again and again. What K.W. wrote about you made me want to weep. He loves you so much. So much more priceless than any tangible...Any piano or music it might play. The two of you are blessed beyond words. <3 Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I would like to post an excerpt from this in my noncommercial blog: healinghamlet(dot)com, which focuses on healing and art (visual, writing and music). I will give credit to you and provide a link to the full post on this website. Please let me know if you have any concerns and thank you for sharing your art and your journey!


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