- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The soundtrack of my youth was provided by my mother — a masterful piano player who filled our home with the sound of practice sessions for Sunday church.

So school homework was often tuned to “The Old Rugged Cross;” the sounds of Harry Caray calling Cubs games in the den were intermixed with “Go Tell It on the Mountain” coming from the living room.

She tried to teach me how to play, but I took to the instrument like a fish to a bicycle, so the experiment was quickly abandoned. My talent for music was, and still is, undiscovered. But luckily, that’s from my father’s side. Mom played beautifully.

Even still, I never realized what a profound connection I had to the piano until this last weekend. Almost on a lark, I placed a bid on a grainy picture of an upright being sold through an estate sale in Allen. What I found when I got there Sunday afternoon — hidden under a layer of dust and the grimy residue of someone’s grubby grandchildren — was a wonderfully preserved 1901 Concord, manufactured in Chicago and restored in 1980 by a company in Champaign.

It cost me all of $20. You literally couldn’t even buy the piece of metal to make the pin block for that amount. After a little research, I roughly estimated the piano’s retail price at the turn of the century somewhere around $400 — about $10,000 today. It really makes you question the sanity of our society when we value that type of craftsmanship so much less now than they did then, not to mention the value of teaching kids to play.

But I digress.

After significant amounts of lugging and the help of a kind stranger in Allen and an even kinder neighbor at home, the 114-year-old relic had found its new resting place.

And wouldn’t you know it, turns out I married a piano player.

Listening to the familiar sounds of yesteryear filling a new house in a new state, I realized how much I missed it. I had never once thought to myself, “I need to get a piano to make this house a home.” But sitting there yesterday as the old hymns rang new again, that’s exactly where I found myself. It’s incredible what warmth those cold hunks of ivory can imbue when hit in the right order.

—Happy birthday Tuesday to Larry Caylor, Robert Andrews and Charlotte Hubbard, all of Sherman; Bob “Shady” Jensen of Howe; Sterting Spanky Brown of Austin; Katie Gearinger of Denison; and Aeson Jones.

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(c)2015 the Herald Democrat (Sherman, Texas)

Visit the Herald Democrat (Sherman, Texas) at www.heralddemocrat.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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