January 5, 2010

Sing Unto the Lord

"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously..." Exodus 15:1

We have a large piano in our living room. Scratched and dented, it stands in the pride of it's former glory. This upright is more than 100 years old. It has a long unknown history but as I type I can almost hear the music through it's years as new pianists plink away at the keys trying to perfect their art and the melodies as novice players lead the family in a time of musical fellowship. The short time we have been blessed with it has been a time of seeing God work through something as unnoticed and taken for granted as a musical instrument.

When KK was first taking piano lessons, she was about 6 years old at the time, and had just a small keyboard to practice on. One of those little 2 octave rests-on-the-floor things. Her instructor said she needed a real piano because she had progressed too far to use the keyboard. With Allen just out of college, we just could not afford it. We could scarcely afford food at that time between tuition, legal fees and medical bills. The $5 a week for lessons was more than a stretch.

Now there is really just one place around that seriously sold pianos back then... in New Midway, near where Allen and I grew up about an hour drive from our home. We were going to a farm there that July, it was HOT that day, to pick blueberries and I passed this shop. Everyone knows Kreimer's...everyone buys their pianos there and Mr. Kreimer, a beautiful Christian, tunes every ones piano in Frederick county, I think.

So, I backed up in the middle of the road, pulled into the parking lot, and holding my daughters' hands, I walked in and looked briefly before I started to choke on the prices. Before my coronary set in, I went to the counter and asked Mr. Kreimer's daughter if they ever had used pianos to sell. She said sure and showed me a few that cost more than any car I had ever owned. I said, "No you do not understand. I mean cheap! Where are the pianos no one else wants to buy?" At first, she just looked at me, mortified that I might suggest they would have such a thing. Then, she looked around the store, as if she wanted to make sure no one had heard me. She leaned toward me and she said I should follow her.

We walked out of the store, down the steps, and around to the side of the old building. She opened the cellar door and we walked down the concrete steps into the very dark place. There sat this thing that was in pieces, even the ivory keyboard lay on the floor. I said "That's more like it! How much?" Shocked she said for $500 they would throw in the bench. I asked if they would take payments and told her that I would pay it off by November so as to have it in time for KK's birthday. With a smile she said it was a deal.

I gave her a hundred dollar deposit and sent $5 a week over the next few months. My parents, sister and mom all contributed some, too. When Allen could get the hours, he worked overtime. Finally, we had enough to pay it off, but not the $75 for delivery. I made a lasagna and Allen rounded up 6 guys the night before her birthday to pick it up. Only when they got there, Mr. Kreimer said it was too top heavy to put in a pick up truck without a rack. The thing would tumble right over the side. Everyone who was in on the surprise was disappointed. A collection was taken up and Mr. Kreimer reduced the delivery fee so that we could have it the next morning.

That old piano has served us well. A few years ago, we had a friend in the music ministry visiting. He had an interest in antique pianos and spent some time trying to identify our piano. It had no name or other markings and it matched nothing in the books he had. He was able to tell from the works that it was dated around 1900. A little more investigating and some help from Mr. Kreimer, and we eventually discovered that the reason we couldn't find a marking or a match for our piano was that the top had been cut.

Originally, the front went straight up in one piece as you would picture. But somewhere along the way someone had cut a shelf into there just above the book rack. It seems that people did that to make their pianos more ornate.

Two years ago, when Mr. Kreimer came to tune the old girl,he said the sound board was beginning to crack. He said we could get a number of years (5 maybe he said) yet but we should start looking for a replacement. We had by then or did shortly after stop lessons right around the same time. We were putting away the money we would have spent on lessons aside to save for a new piano since we were used to doing without that amount each week.

Last September (2008) I was helping a friend hang wall paper border and she and I got to talking about their family needing to get a new piano. They had a baby grand and I asked them what was wrong with it. She said nothing but they needed something smaller so they could have the room for their teenage son. I asked how much they were selling it for. She told me that someone was supposed to buy it. That was that. A few days later she called me up and said the other man couldn't take it after all, and that she and her husband would GIVE it to us if we could pay to have it moved.

There were just a few catches. We were leaving for a month in a few days, and it had to be moved before that on account of their upright would be coming while we were away. I called Mr.Kreimer (remember, he tunes everyone's pianos) and asked him how much it would be. Of course he knew their location and mine and the piano well. $375. Of course, I did not have that much extra in my household fund. Besides, they had an 8 hour round-trip move on Saturday and there was no way he could do it until the following weekend... which of course, we would be gone. The girls were disappointed but agreed that if it were God's will it would have worked out. Within the hour, two things happened. First, KK remembered the money we'd been tucking away for a new piano. Which turned out to be almost exactly what we needed. Next, Mr.Kreimer called and said he had talked to the guy who moves pianos with him, and the other fellow agreed to move it for us on Saturday if we didn't mind it being late in the evening when they arrived.

Well, what do you know? A hurricane dumped several inches of rain (I think 18") here that Friday and Saturday and caused extensive flooding that hindered their travels causing them to get here at 10 PM. When they did, it was impossible for them to pull their truck around to our back door for the soft muddy ground. They had to plank the piano from the driveway, through the pool, and then down the steps into the basement. Such a job would normally cost considerably more but after so many years and being fellow believers they took only exactly the $375! Is not our Lord good?!

Now, after such history with our old piano we can not bring ourselves to junk it. It sits in our living room, still and is played often, as our family enjoys sitting around in the evening singing together. It has a beautiful tone yet, but we know its days are numbered.


  1. What a great story, Kat. I love the way the Lord provides in all circumstances. And in this case you get to have beautiful music fill your home. I really love the mini baby grand.

  2. What a wonderful story of first, a beloved old piano...I wouldn't have the heart to part with it either! Then the new one...just wonderful. I hope your family enjoys hours of beautiful music on it.

  3. Kat,

    It is so beautiful to see just how the Lord worked in every aspect of getting both pianos into your home and where they needed to be. There they are loved and used for the purpose God intended. I am so sure He smiles down each and every time one note is played.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  4. Oh my what a story! I imagine your house sounds so wonderful, what a treat! Glad that it all worked out in the end!