She hadn’t played in years, then her dream came true.
Posted in , Sep 25, 2019
The truck bumped and jolted as we drove up the steep gravel road through a dense green forest. We climbed higher and higher toward the top of a hill. I knew where we were. Lost Trail Road. An out-of-the-way, unpaved route not far from my house. I was in the passenger seat, and my seven-year-old son, Bobby, was in the back. My nephew Barry was driving. I gazed out my window into the trees. Something caught my eye. A bright green object. I looked harder. Was that...a piano?
“Stop!” I said.
My eyes fluttered open. I gazed around my dark bedroom. My husband, Hank, snored quietly beside me. What a dream! It had felt so real. Maybe I’d dreamed about the drive because we planned on visiting my parents in the morning. But why Lost Trail Road? Going that route was much slower than the highway. I hadn’t been on that road in years. And what about the green piano I’d seen in my dream? I could still picture it in my head, as clear as day.
It had been a long time since I’d had a piano. Growing up, we’d had an upright in our living room. After a meal or at some slow point in the day, one of us would start playing. Eventually everyone would drift toward the living room, singing old hymns or traditional songs. My mom and I could play a little. My sister Jean put us all to shame with her skills. My dad and brother and sister Martha loved to sing. I could still hear Dad’s strong baritone and see Jean’s quick fingers that could pick out any tune. I loved to play too. We had so many great memories of everyone gathered around that piano.
A piano was out of the question now. Money was tight, especially after Hank and I bought a small farm and had Bobby. We were a young family, trying to make it. I wistfully thought about getting a piano from time to time. I wanted my son to have music in his life. It would be a nice way to relax after a long day on the farm. It was hard work, feeding ducks and chickens, milking the goats, tending the garden and preserving and canning foods. But I always pushed aside the thought before I even considered bringing it up to Hank—and did so now, drifting back to sleep.
The next morning, Barry drove Bobby and me over to my parents’ place. We all had a good visit. On the way back, I thought about the many chores I needed to get done. But as we neared the turnoff for Lost Trail Road, something drew me to it. It had been a while since I’d gone this way.
“Wait,” I said to Barry. “Let’s take Lost Trail Road.”
Barry nodded as he veered over and pulled onto the unpaved road. We drove in silence for a while, our windows down. The air was warm and smelled sweet with foliage. When we came to the hill, our truck jerked and bounced over the gravel. I was overcome with the feeling that I was reliving what I’d experienced the night before. I gazed at the mossy trunks rising to leafy treetops, the air cooler under their canopy. That’s when I saw it. Something green. A bright green that stood out against the hue of the forest.
“Stop!” I said.
I scrambled out of the truck and dashed into the woods. Barry and Bobby followed.
There it was. Sitting among the trees, almost as if it belonged there. The very green piano that I’d dreamed about the night before.
“Who would put an old upright in the middle of a forest?” I asked, touching it with wonder. I knew it must have been in terrible condition. Who knows how long it had been sitting out there? I opened the keyboard cover. To my amazement, it slid open smoothly. Every key inside was intact. Each white key held its ivory covering; each black key was still encased in ebony. I opened the top and saw none of the strings were broken. The outside of the piano was even pretty clean. I tapped one of the keys. Plink! Way out of tune. And the wood was damp, probably from the recent rain.
Whoever dumped the piano must have done so recently. It looked almost perfect.
We headed back to the truck. We would need more help to load it. I stopped at my friend’s house to call Hank at work. Convincing him we’d found a green piano in the woods took some doing, but we finally arrived later that day and loaded it into the truck bed. He and I brought the piano into the house and set it up in the living room.
Getting the piano in working condition was a long process. We had to rent a special dehumidifier and have it retuned three times so the strings wouldn’t break. It took about four months of piano “rehab” before it was ready to play. But it was well worth it. Sitting down to play music at the end of a long day on the farm soothed my soul in a way nothing else could. Even better, it brought all of us together, just as it had for my parents and siblings and me all those years ago. And to think I might’ve gone on not knowing the joy that music could bring back to my life—if not for the green piano of my dreams.
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