As a young man I bought my first piano from Warne’s Music Store in my hometown, Peterborough, Ontario. It wasn’t much to look at but…I loved the tone so I paid for the ol’ clunker and had it delivered to our home.
Over ten years later I moved it to the Christian Book Store I owned so our customers could sit down with a music book and “try out” a song or two. I’d often sit down myself when the store was quiet and play a few hymns. In 1987 I moved to Toronto and left Ol’ Clunker behind. It was hard to say goodbye because we had collaborated on a few songs I had written and it was a sad day when we parted.
My memory is fuzzy regarding the next chapter, or verse, of the story but Ol’ Clunker and I were reunited in Toronto where I had moved to take a position at The Peoples Church. Through our daughter, we heard that a Polish family had a child who wanted to take piano lessons so we “lent” the piano to them. Again, it was a sad moment when I said “goodbye”. Later, the family moved out of town and they asked if I wanted my cherished friend back. I quickly and gladly said “yes” although my wife wasn’t anxious to welcome ol’ clunker back into our home. It wasn’t the finest looking piece of furniture I must admit.
I reluctantly donated “her”…not my wife…to The Peoples Church. and they hid it away in one of the Peoples Christian School classrooms. I was pleased to have her close by if I needed “her”.
One New Year’s Eve, the church had invited the Blackwood Brothers Quartet to sing at the Watchnight Service as we welcomed in the New Year. A banquet preceded the concert and the dinner was served in the school gymnasium…attached to the church sanctuary. Little did I know that the Blackwood Brothers would sing a couple of songs in the gym, following the banquet, before everyone moved into the sanctuary for the service.
Some of the church staff, in all probability Ken and Stan, wheeled Ol’ Clunker into to gym and my heart skipped a beat. “Oh boy”, I thought, “is she even in tune?”
As the Blackwoods played and sang “Precious Memories” I sat there enthralled, recalling the well-traveled pilgrimage that my piano had undertaken and the precious memories that came to mind as I listened to the group I had enjoyed since I was a “little kid.”