Monday, June 30, 2008

Having Fun

Yesterday, while shopping in Silverthorn, CO, I went into a small store and the clerks were joyous and laughing and the atmosphere was elevated and lovely. They greeted me and asked what I was looking for and I said "oh, nothing, I'm just having fun". They totally embraced that idea and we had a great, quick exchange of joy before I left to rejoin my family. It was a refill of my own joy coming in contact with these 2 ladies...and I believe we can go out and keep refilling the world!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Passing the Baby

Having a newborn in the family to gaze at is such a delight. When that newborn is a cuddly, sweet little girl this grandma can't resist her. This is what caused my scene-inducing episode at church Sunday morning.

As our family grows I find I'm not the only one in the pew anymore at Sunday mass. The kids are coming with their significant others and we almost fill an entire pew now. So, last Sunday, I arrived at 10:30 mass early enough to claim a whole pew. I went in first, followed by youngest son, Matt and his girlfriend, Kelly. We spread out to hint to others, "don't sit here", as more family is on the way. Soon my middle son, Andrew arrived with his fiance, Sarah. They climbed into the pew over Matt and Kelly and sat in the middle. Next arrived Sarah's mom, Lynne She also climbed over Matt and Kelly. All the while I kept scooting further down the pew. Finally Mary and baby Abbi in her carrier arrived. They slipped into the end next to Matt and Kelly who moved down.

Now, what was wrong with this picture? Grandma is at the farthest end from her little treasured Abbi. I usually am spoiled and hold Abbi through mass so this was a problem that needed to be fixed. I leaned over and motioned for Mary to send baby Abbi down the line to Grandma. I could see some quick whispering and giggles at the other end and then slowly it happened.

The cutest little two month old girl, dressed in a white ruffly dress and bright pink sweater started her venture down the pew to grandma. From Uncle Matt to Kelly she went. Matt whispered that he thought she'd be taking awhile to get to me as everyone loves her and wants to cuddle her. Next Lynne held her and whispered "she's so cute", then on to Uncle Andrew who passed her to soon-to-be Aunt Sarah. Now Sarah is not one to share Abbi as we both always want to hold her. Finally, Sarah passed Abbi to Grandma's waiting arms. I was so very blessed and happy to be holding our little cuddly bundle.

Abbi smiled and entertained the people around us who must have watched the passing of the baby. After all, how could they have not seen what the deacon-of-the-mass' family was up to?
Then, it happened little Abbi's lower lip came out into the cutest little pout you've ever seen. She was telling Grandma she wasn't happy anymore. Even her pacifier wasn't going to make her feel better. She was just plain tuckered out and was ready to sleep. So proud Grandma took her to the back where she walked her gently. At one point I stopped and asked a young man standing in the doorway if Abbi's eyes were closed. He started to laugh and said "not at all, they are wide open." Abbi just liked cuddling with grandma and seeing the sites at the back of church. Eventually those little eyes grew heavy and she quietly went to sleep. I slipped back into our pew and finished mass. After mass I felt a tap, tap on my shoulder. It was a sweet lady who must have been observing our mass time antics. She came to congratulate me on my grandbaby. I guess it proved we were noticed! Of course, Sarah was waiting at the end of the pew for me to give baby over to her...I usually tell her "one more song" but this time, the songs at mass ran out and I let Sarah carry our family prize from the church.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Piano Keys Plays Laughter

Recently I've come to terms with the need to find a new home for an old piano that has graced my living rooms for the last 15 years. This piano has been dragged through 4 homes without even an accomplished player in the home. In all these years I have had only 2 sets of talented fingers upon these keys. The potential I had once thought possible never bloomed into a flow of lovely music within my home. With such a history of this neglected dust collector, I started my earnest search for another location for this lonely, large, heavy, over-sized white elephant. With this quest in mind, I was distressed to start noticing things like a big painted sign in front of a lovely home that said "Free Piano". Also, in discussion with others, I heard tales of other pianos that were not going anywhere even after being advertised in places like Craig's List. I was getting the definate idea that these days a piano was difficult to unload.

Now this particular piano does have a story, as do most things in my home. I think it's an important part of the story to tell you how I became the owner of this piano in the first place. It's one of those times I suppose I should have said "no" but hind-sight is 20/20.

I was living in Plano, Texas, driving a multitude of daily carpools for my five children. Upon returning home one afternoon, I found a message waiting on my phone answering machine. It was a friend who said "I have a piano you can have if you want it. Call me." I had been to this friend's small apartment and had never seen a piano. What was she talking about? Where would she have hidden a piano in that little apartment? As much out of curiosity as anything, I called her back. This previously unseen piano had been "in residence" at the Catholic Worker's house in Dallas and now needed to be moved out immediately. For a mere $35.00 delivery fee, I could have the "free" piano delivered to my house the next day. Not knowing the full talents of my five children yet, I thought maybe this was something meant to be. So the piano arrived at my door as planned.

Over the years, the piano survived a house fire inspite of it being against the wall where the fire started. It had held the Christmas Dicken's Village, framed family photos, CD players and large candle sticks. Most recently it had held my husband's wine glass as he relaxed in his nearby recliner. It reminded me of unused exercise equipment, it was used for everything except what it was intended for.

As the family gathered to celebrate Dad's birthday, I noticed our oldest son had driven his large, utility truck and had it parked out front. I started out with suggestions that he load up his remaining stuff that had been left behind when he moved out 3 years ago. Then in jest, I suggested he take the piano. To my surprise and delight this seemed to interest him. He said he knew someone who would be interested in it. He also had in his large truck a heavy-duty appliance mover. It didn't take long for the three brothers to get in gear. The piano easily wheeled to the door where it was loaded on the large dolly. Then the fun began! First of all, it was discovered that the piano was sitting on the strap needed to wrap around it to keep it in place, so the piano was carefully tipped to find the strap. This was a delicate procedure so as not to break the front legs. With that problem solved, it now became a challenge of how do seven people get a piano up into a large truck? I had the best seat to watch the shenanigans that were unfolding. I was holding baby Abbi and sitting in a rocking chair at the front door observing my family and the delimna before them. I watched as they sized up the piano and the truck and moved around the scene trying to come up with a plan.

The truck had a sturdy metal ramp, only it was narrower than the piano. With the piano on it's end, middle brother climbed up the large dolly to tip it back to push it closer to the truck, only the piano was so heavy, his full weight wouldn't tip the piano back. He leaned back and pulled on that dolly until it finally gave way and his feet once again touched the ground. He was never one to give up easily. Then, two others went to the garage and pulled out a large piece of plywood. This was placed over the metal ramp, but the problem now was bridging the gap between the plywood and the street. Another piece of board was found to fit in this spot. Little by little things started coming together. The biggest question remaining was if the ramp was strong enough to hold this heavy piano as it rolled up the ramp. There was only one way to find out. So with four of the strongest people in the group holding onto the piano, it was pushed up the ramp. I could see everyone holding their breath as the piano went into motion.

I'm sure the neighbors heard the cheering as the piano rolled into the truck unscathed. It hadn't been easy and it had taken the better part of 40+ minutes. With smiles all around everyone felt a huge accomplishment and headed home soon after.

It's now the next day and as I sat writing this tale, I got a phone call from my son with the truck. He was calling to tell me that he definately found a home for the piano. His friend prefers this piano to the one he already has. His friend even played piano as a child so it's now in talented hands. The piano that is being replaced isn't in as good of a condition as mine was and it weighs about 100 pounds more. I'm relieved it isn't mine to worry about. I am curious, though, as to what will happend to it. I did ask my son to let me know where that other piano goes. The saga will be continuing as I got some hints that it might not be a pretty story.