Long After Piano Lessons


Why take piano lessons? Because one afternoon thirty-five years later, you will be sitting at your desk with your two monitors, analyzing inventory turns while Pandora plays in the background. And within four notes of a Chopin nocturne, you will be transported to an era you had all but forgotten.

You will look at your coworker, eyes wide. This, um, this piece, you will whisper, I played this for a recital…a lifetime ago. This. is. Chopin. You will be thinking: own this nocturne

Your thumb and finger will reach out to the volume knob of the speakers, intending to increase the volume, barely perceptibly. Then you will throw off tacit office etiquette and crank it up. Mercifully, no one is on the phone.

You will mumble, Please excuse my humming. But you will think I am one with this, how could I not hum it?  Your index finger will conduct the pianist playing through your computer.

Your hand will return to the mouse, and you will pretend to get back to the business at hand. You will abandon pretense, incapable of any action but soaking up the fragile beauty. Your coworker, younger by four decades, will pause and then stop what she is doing. She will listen to the delicate melody in G minor.

As the final notes linger in the air you will recognize that at this great distance from the discipline of daily practice, playing Chopin is beyond you. But you will make a note to find the music when you get home.

And you will remember the time when you practiced Opus 37, No. 1 until it was woven into the double helix of your DNA, when you could play this flawlessly, when your playing was capable of breaking even your own heart.


Grace Infusion

This is our crazy Quinn at the original wedding site.
Before. the. ceremony.

We’re getting to be specialists in the area of sudden wedding venue changes.  Each “crisis” is an opportunity to see God work wonders.  I’m re-winding and re-viewing the details, both dazed and amazed at our Quinn and the infusion of grace in her life. 

The wedding and reception were to be at a private home, complete with a rolling, lush lawn, towering trees, a gurgling brook, and a photogenic foot bridge.  The preparations had been made and it was going to be a wedding worthy of a magazine spread. 

The back-up venue in case of rain was the Thunder Room, the “watering hole” at the rodeo grounds.  Think neon Coors Light signs, a dark and dusty den of a room, garage doors on four walls, piles of portable metal fencing, open rafters.  The Cowgirls bathroom was gulp! a twelve-seater, non-flush toilet.  The bar (kitchen) area didn’t have a sink or running water. The whole thing was tacky times twelve.

It rained all week.  The afternoon before the wedding we had a sudden downpour, the kind that produces flash floods.  It rained during the rehearsal.  It wasn’t raining the morning of, but the weather report said 70% chance of rain.

A decision needed to be made and it was the bride’s call.   Should we chance it; gamble (if you will) that we’ll stay dry?  How would we coordinate the expected 350 guests in a downpour? 

(The groom and) Quinn decided to bring the wedding inside without a tear, a pout or a grump.  She willingly gave up her picture book wedding and rejoiced that at the end of the day she would be married to the man she adored.  She took the weather as a gift from the Father’s hand.  She kept the big picture in mind and refused to be dismayed. 

Everybody swung into action, moving all the rented chairs and tables, cleaning, setting up, notifying guests, etc.  The Thunder Room was transformed.  My daughter-in-law worked her magic with flowers, Japanese lanterns and an eye for all things beautiful. 

Redemption was on display.  The transformation of the building was an inadequate reflection of the changes that have taken place in our beautiful Quinn.  She’s been to the Thunder Room many times: this was the best event she’s ever had in that room.

Quinn still walked down to Amazing Grace (only time for two verses); the shotgun shoot was canceled.   And when the rain pounded the roof while folks were eating, family and friends smiled; the wisdom of the choice was validated.