Writing 101: Day Twenty – “The Things We Treasure”
Day Twenty – The Things We Treasure:
* Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.
* Today’s Twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing.
I can say without a doubt, that music has always held a prominent place in my life. I discovered at a very young age that having the ability to make music, whether it is through singing or through an instrument is a beautiful gift to the person who is performing, and to perform, thereby giving that gift of music to others is so rewarding. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a passion for music. I don’t mean to brag, but very early on, I discovered that God blessed me with a singing voice, and ever since then, I have used it whenever I could. Whether I was doing my chores, walking to school, riding my bike, or just sitting on the front steps to our apartment building, I’d sing. And it didn’t matter to me if I wasn’t singing for an audience, because I knew that somehow there was someone, somewhere who could hear me, even if it was only the birds and the squirrels in the trees.
I think I’ve always loved music because I knew that in music, I could express myself, whether I was in the throes of joy and happiness or in the depths of sadness and despair. I knew that if I couldn’t find the words, I could always find the music, the melody, the mood, the tempo. Music was always there. It may not make sense to someone else, but it always made sense to me.
While growing up, one of my friends was taking piano lessons, and I was so envious of her. Oh, how I wanted to learn how to play the piano! But my family could not afford to buy piano, much less the expense of my taking piano lessons. I used to look forward to going over to her house to spend time with her because sometimes she would let me sit down at the piano and she would try to teach me some of the lessons she had learned. I was an avid student. Of course, she was not the best teacher, but I learned what I could. Not only that, but I had an excellent “ear” and could play some melodies by ear. But oh, how I longed for a piano of my very own! Then one day she and her family moved away. Not only was I sad to see her go, but I was also sad because I knew that was the end of my piano-playing days.
As the years went by, and I married and had children, every now and then I’d still think about my dream of owning a piano some day, but raising a family and other financial concerns seemed more important, so my piano dream was set aside until last January. I began thinking about playing the piano once again, now that our children had left our nest. I own 76-key electronic keyboard and I decided to take the plunge and begin piano lessons. I knew that we couldn’t afford a piano, but I could practice on the keyboard. I have a friend from church who teaches piano, so I began taking lessons from her. After a few lessons at her home, It wasn’t long before I noticed the differences between playing on her piano and practicing on my keyboard. The touch was different, the weight of the keys was different, and even the width of the keys was different. I knew that in order to derive the full benefit of piano lessons, I would have to practice on a real piano. But how? After giving it some thought, soon I came up with a plan and knew exactly what to do.
I telephoned my church choir director. Of course – I’m a member of our church choir! Since we live only five minutes from our church, I asked her if I could practice every day on the piano in our choir rehearsal room.
“Of course, you could . . . but, I have another suggestion,” Therese said.
“Well, I have a piano at home that you could have.”
“Yes. I have a piano for sale on Craig’s list, but no one’s really asked about it, so you could have it.”
“But we really can’t afford a piano right now. That’s why I’d like to practice on the one at church,”
“No, Cindy. You don’t understand. You can HAVE it. For free. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather give it to.”
I was speechless. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. She was going to GIVE me a piano. FREE. It was going to be as easy, as simple, as wonderful as THAT. Before I knew it, I was sobbing uncontrollably because this beautiful, wonderful, kindhearted, loving woman was going to make my lifelong dream come true.
A week later, the big day arrived. My piano was going to be delivered. I had spent the day before preparing for it. It was like I was preparing for company! My husband and I moved the computer desk out of the living room, which is where the piano was going to “live.” I dusted the entire living room from top to bottom. I vacuumed the rug, and swept and polished the wooden floors, making them glow.
Ten minutes before the piano was due to arrive, I sat on the sofa with my little toy poodle Lucy, anxiously watching out the living room window, waiting for the piano moving truck to arrive. It seemed as though the time was ticking by so slowly as I waited. Then it appeared. Around the corner it came. The truck with MY piano! Even my little Lucy could sense the joy in my mood as she jumped off the sofa, wagging her tail, running back and forth from the door to the window where I stood, watching as the truck pulled slowly into our driveway. The doorbell rang and I ran to the door to answer it. I greeted the piano movers with a huge smile on my face and happiness in my voice. I followed their every move as they carefully and skillfully brought my piano into our house, setting it into its place of honor. Then I gave them their hard-earned pay, thanked them, and said good-bye, but in my mind, all I kept thinking was, Hurry and leave, so I can sit down and play the piano, MY piano!
And finally it was time. My dear choir director had wrapped up the bench with a beautiful white ribbon, ending with a gorgeous bow on the top. It was so like her to make such a gesture; after all it was her gift to me. I carefully untied the bow, planning to save it as a keepsake, thinking I would place the ribbon inside the bench so I wouldn’t lose it. I opened the bench and lying inside was a carefully folded note. It was printed by hand, and on the outside were the words: Enjoy the Piano! I opened it and inside were some more words which read: May it bring you great joy and happiness! Therese. These words from my choir director so touched me that I broke down and cried tears of joy.
It was at this moment when I realized that sometimes if you dream long enough and add a little faith to the mix, dreams really do come true. And that it’s never too late to begin a new chapter in your life – even if it means learning to play the piano at the age of fifty-seven!