I’m grateful to own a piano. It was one of the last gifts my father gave me before he lost his mind. He told me to find the piano I wanted and he’d pay for it. I understood that he didn’t mean a Yamaha baby grand, and I shopped for a used upright, which I found in Grand Junction from a private seller.
I played assiduously for a few years after I bought it, and then it’s been in fits and starts. I hadn’t played for years when I tickled the ivories a few weeks ago, and decided it was time to pay the piper. Look at all those apothegms! Of course it needed tuning, so I called The Man.
A visit from the piano tuner of choice on the Western Slope is always fun. Despite my covid precautions I didn’t ask him to mask. I had opened both doors and several windows. “I’ve had all my shots,” he said, “here’s my tag.” I wanted to see his face, so I masked instead.
He grumbled and groaned when I asked if I could film him, but really he was flattered. I promised I wouldn’t put it all over the internet so I’ve limited myself to one still photo. If you recognize him, don’t tell him!
He appreciates my sense of humor and has great laugh lines. Each request I made of him he upped the price, but not really. Like Dr. Vincent he threatens to retire, but after two hand surgeries in recent years he’s good to go for another decade.
When he’s here, I wish I were my piano. I’m grateful for his skill and his way of being. Wren only barked a little, and he did exactly the right thing: ignored her until she was comfortable with his presence. I’m grateful for my piano and the joy its tuning brings me. It’s my aspiration to start playing regularly again.
Or I could have titled this ‘Reading’ again. Or ‘Bibliofillies.’ Our book club celebrated its 18th anniversary this month with one of the best books we’ve ever read. Everyone gave it two thumbs up, and some of us included more fingers and toes. I personally gave it five thumbs up, who’s to say how many I get to give? I mean, if I can give zero fucks about something like … well, then surely I can give more thumbs up than are apparent, right?
This book is hands down one of the best reads I’ve experienced in my short life. And that’s what it’s about, life. Just the depth and breadth of “the ordinary orbit of one life,” which “at the time you’re living it you can sometimes think your life is nothing much…”
“Story was the stuff of life, and to realize you were inside one allowed you to sometimes surrender to the plot, to bear a little easier the griefs and sufferings and to enjoy more fully the twists that came along the way.” This gorgeous Irish novel is about living each day with awareness and gratitude, kindness and compassion, and I felt honored that some of my fellow Fillies thought of me and the mindfulness that I preach as they were reading it. When we can step back and observe the reality of our unique and precious life as it unfolds, one breath, one detail at a time, we can more deeply appreciate each moment.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough to anyone. Please do yourself a favor, if you love to read, and get it now. Those Fillies who listen to books claim that it’s about if not the best narration they’ve ever listened to, and I don’t doubt them. I was glad I could hear the Irish brogue in my head, and several-many times I read a passage aloud to Wren, in my own poor imitation of the lyrical accent.
Speaking of lyrical, I found myself with a spare half hour this morning, and cracked open my piano for the first time in a year. Not only am I grateful for being able to read words, and for everyone who contributed to this skill, but I’m grateful for the ability to read music, and to Mrs. Tankel for teaching me that skill starting when I was in the first grade through high school.
I haven’t played much since the kittens came, and that’s amazingly coming up on eight years; I haven’t played at all since Covid, because the piano is a tiny bit out of tune, and, well, I just didn’t call the tuner. Until this afternoon: and he has put me in his rotation and will be here sometime this month. I’m grateful for John Blackburn, the hottest piano tuner on the western slope and maybe anywhere, and for Neighbor Robert, who tuned me into him. I’m also grateful to Robert for one day dropping the line, “…and of course you have Hanon,” to which I responded with an eloquent “huh?” And he gave me the Virtuoso Pianist exercise book that might have made all the difference when I was learning piano as a child. It’s a joy to play.
Wren isn’t too sure about piano, since today was the first time she heard it, but she was game, and stuck her nose in the way between my hands for a few exercises, but left as I began to play a Schubert waltz. She was long gone before I tried to sing along with ‘King of the Road,’ but that’s okay. I don’t need her with me every single moment. I’m so grateful that I have a piano, and to the Colonel for giving it as his last gift to me, and that I knew when I closed it the last time that I would get back to it eventually.
And I’m grateful, as always, for the inestimable cheese sandwich. And really, in the course of a day, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what I’m grateful for: so much!