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My Century Old Piano
by Carol I. McGrath

When Grandfather was a young man, he played in a band on a steamboat known as the Northern Belle. The run was from St. Paul, Minnesota to Dubuque, Iowa. There was dancing on the boat every night except Sunday nights. Grandfather made a vow then that when he married and had a home, there would be music in his home.

Grandfather married a girl who could play the piano. He couldn’t afford a new piano but he knew where there was a beautiful second-hand piano in Milan, Indiana. He bought it. It was brought to the Mississippi River where it was placed on a flatboat and sent up to St. Paul. I imagine it came from St. Paul to Dundas by train and from the train to Grandfather’s home by horses.

The piano is four feet tall and four and a half feet long. It has eighty-five keys. The ivories are the originals except for six which were replaced in 1940 when I got the piano from Grandfather’s estate. Several strings have been replaced as they have broken when the piano was tuned. The two pedals are controlled by a dowel inside the piano on the left side. The piano had an “ebony” finish when I got it, but I had a piano tuner remove all the coats of varnish down to the bare wood. It is, now, a beautiful walnut case with a rosewood music holder. It has carved legs and a front panel with decorative carving which has a cloth behind it showing through the intricate carved openings.

The piano was manufactured by J. and C. Fischer Company, Chicago, Illinois. Its number is 60892. The piano tuners tell me this piano was manufactured between 1870-1875. The piano has a plate inside of it that says “J&C Fischer 1848.”

In 1965, J. and C. Fischer still were manufacturing pianos. I haven’t checked any further.

This piano used to be in Grandmother’s bedroom when there was a fireplace. She sang and played hymns there.

When I was a little girl, I went into her bedroom to play the piano. I always thought what a lovely instrument it was and that I’d like to have it. When I was willed it, I was overjoyed.

When Grandmother owned the piano, my father took lessons on it. When I inherited it, my sons took lessons on it. Many people have sung hymns, Christmas carols and popular songs around it. I do not play very well, but do play for my own enjoyment. When I’m emotionally upset or tense, I play it and it gives me the peace that it gave Grandpa and Grandma the years they had it.

When I’m gone, my century old piano is to be my oldest son’s.

Christmas, 1964
by David Tharp

Snow fell on President Kennedy’s grave. In a few hours the graves of the brave soldiers and wise diplomats would be covered with a blanket of white.

The parents of America were in a pensive mood as their children gathered around the Christmas tree. Their minds weren’t filled with thoughts of bills to be paid or even of the feast they soon would consume. They thought of the handsome young leader who lost his life, not in war or even in the hospital under the ravages of a dread disease, but as a victim of a senseless crime. The more knowledgeable among them thought with shame about the four little black girls who were murdered while attending Sunday School. These were the thoughts of the parents of America.

Their children – the innocent, ignorant children – knew nothing of this. But their time would come. Some time, somewhere, someone would scoop up a handful of mud and rub it in their faces, saying, “Look, kid, forget about all your dreams. This is what life is really about.”

by Albert Lee Moore

A prison is a very cold, cold place
And most prisoners will let their minds go to waste.
But, thanks to God, I have found a way
To live for Him, day after day.
Most minds are after gold and pearls.
My mind is after the Savior of the World.
Without a Savior, I cannot win,
And I don’t want to spend my life in sin.
So I will keep my mind from going to waste.
Wow! I am living in this cold, cold place.

Not Exactly Lonesome
by Leonard Opalov

To be alone
Doesn’t mean
To be lonesome.
In the company of self
One can feel
Completely at ease.
A friendly oval table,
A festive white cloth upon it,
A few comfortable chairs close by.
Upon the window sill,
Saffron flowers,
Sun-colored tapestries
Embellishing the paneled walls;
The serene milieu of home.

The Ethnic Group
by Vietta B. Wines

Until I met an ethnic group… I never knew another tongue… I soon learned how much a gesture could mean… coupled with words I’d never heard… Mama Italy she was called… On her native words she never stalled… All day long her group chatted… I listened in without an eye batted… Polish and Czech… No interpreter… sometimes I was a wreck… Wish I could go back once more… But since then, they have closed the door… The group no longer is there… But of what I learned I will always be aware.

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Published by Rosanne K. Pierce, Wellsboro, PA 16901

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