I have a special place in my heart for musicians like Ben Folds or even (Lord help me) Elton John, because, like me, they are pianists.
By no stretch of the imagination am I comparing myself to these talented, highly-successful musicians. That would be like comparing myself to Julia Child because we both own a stock pot.
I studied the piano for most of my childhood, and I can read music and play with a touch of grace and flair. However, I can't improvise, I don't understand musical theory, and certainly can't compose anything.
When I became an adult, my parents passed the piano my way, because I would play it. Alas, that has not been the case. It has served as a place to place photographs and collect dust.
Occasionally, I would tell my mother that I wanted to get rid of the thing. Our house is small, and it swallowed up space. She replied, "Well, honey, do what you want. Remember that I bought it with the money from...my mother's inheritance."
No guilt there.
So, it sat in our bedroom for years, lurking in the corner, silent and resentful. We talked about getting rid of it, but the words never sprung into action.
Until, that is, this weekend. We were in church (A sidebar: Let me tell you why I love my church 1) It's into helping, not smiting 2) It respects my intellect and my need to ask hard questions 3) Politics are never, ever discussed. 4) Hot dish) and I stood up during announcements and said that the piano was available, and free to a good home.
After the service, a woman walked up to me. I've seen her many times, but have not spoken to her at any length. Her daughter plays, and was at the point that she was ready to move beyond a small keyboard. We exchanged phone numbers, and made a plan to meet up.
Yesterday, we dropped the piano off. Just like that, we could breathe in our own home. The woman called me up, thanking me, and she said she was "wonderful, just wonderful." The phone glowed, I swear it. She was just elated.
It was a beautiful song, her voice.
She added the newest verse, but this song started with my grandmother.
My grandmother gave an inheritance to her only daughter.
Her daughter used this gift to purchase my piano.
And now, in one of those stunningly subtle acts of grace, I, a mother of sons, passed on this gift to another mother, and her cherished, only daughter.
The song continues, and it is sweet.