Saturday, April 29, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #272

Nancy White Kelly

There is an elephant in our den. Numerous outer scars indicate a battered life. Its ivories are yellowed and chipped. No doubt several folks have tried to tame this old elephant. A church finally adopted the blackish, 600 pound pachyderm. Eventually it was relegated to the basement hall where it has stood quietly in a corner, oblivious to the various church activities taking place nearby.

But the elephant is lonely and neglected no more. Perhaps this monstrous pachyderm has found a permanent home. Our home. Most elephants roar, but poke this one here and there and a rich, mellow sound comes forth. I don’t care about the looks. It is what is inside that counts. That goes for elephants, people, and old pianos.

Yes, at last I have a piano, an ancient up-right. It was a discard from a church that was up-grading its musical instruments. Buddy figured life is too short to hold back on life’s pleasures, especially such a simple one as this. He encouraged me to get it and worked out the moving with our son and his friend.

The piano came rolling into our home today. The floor creaked under its heavy weight and the wheels left a permanent crease in the linoleum. Oh, well. I am still glad to have it.

The walnut needs lots of touching up. The internet tells me that there are over 5,000 moving parts in an up-right piano. Looking inside mine, I can only imagine. The piano innards are layered with decades of dust.

My task now is to learn how to play the old Kohler and Campbell upright.
I did have a half-dozen lessons, more or less, many years ago, but the console piano we acquired back then had a very short tenure. The den needed to be partitioned to allow another bedroom for our growing number of foster children. Sadly, the piano had to go.

Today, when the new, old piano settled into our den between the couch and the bookcase, the keys beckoned me. I pulled up the bench and gave it a try. Surprisingly, a couple of old hymns flowed from my finger tips with just a few missed notes.

It is sad that the old hymns are fading away. The future generations will never know the truths of those faithful songs that have encouraged us old timers through difficult times.

Therapy comes in many forms. Mine will come from the music from this old upright. Just out of curiosity, I wonder why it wasn’t called an up-left.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #271

Journal of a Living Lady #271

Nancy White Kelly

Spring has finally sprung. It is nice to get out of the house again. Seems like months have passed since being able to absorb sunshine on a daily basis.

Coming home from my annual trip to the nursery for summer flowers, I downed the window on the passenger side. The pleasant breeze twirled my hair. Pollen quickly attacked my eyes and nose, but not before seasonal sounds filled my eager ears.

It was enthralling to hear lawn mowers humming again, birds tweeting, and the rustling of leaves as squirrels catapulted from tree to tree.

Then I came upon an anomaly. Sitting in a greening pasture was a pontoon boat full of jolly boaters. One man had on an orange life preserver. Children appeared to be watching the fishing lines of dangling cane poles.

I quickly snapped my head sideways another time, wondering if spring was playing tricks on my mind. My second glance confirmed the first. An occupied pontoon boat was sitting in the middle of a pasture with no semblance of water anywhere around. Holstein cows mooed in a nearby field.

Thinking I was on Candid Camera or temporarily lost from the loony farm, I turned the car around. I had to return to that scene. Whether I drove a statute mile or nautical mile, I do not know. I approached very slowly this time.

Sure enough. There sat the canopy-covered boat filled with real people smack dab in the middle of grazing land.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on. Taped to the side of the boat’s hull was an orange and black “For Sale” sign. Obviously these were serious yard sale shoppers on the verge of a buying a boat. The mystery was solved, but it brought to mind another experience.

A couple of years ago I bought a Jon boat in a yard sale. Its condition suggested that it was the prototype of the African Queen.  Buddy reluctantly drove it home, shaking his head and mumbling about my impulsiveness. Eventually he came to believe the little boat was a good deal after all. He even added a weather-proof canopy before parking it indefinitely in the grassy yard.

We did go fishing in the little dinghy once. Buddy and I often have sat in that boat in late afternoon while we discussed the affairs of the world. I suppose we are an equally odd sight to passer-bys too.

Albert Einstein said, “Logics will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.”  I have seen a fishing boat in a pasture. I am waiting now to discover a farmer plowing the ocean.