Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Airborne Piano

Last night the King of the Blues, BB King, performed here in my hometown, and I went to see the show. I've been a fan of the blues, and BB for years; my musical tastes do tend to run to the eccentric at times. He's well into his eighties now, so one never knows if this is the last time he'll make it out this way. It was a fine concert; BB still has what it takes to play for his audience, to entertain us, to bring out a smile. He's got a great stage presence. And he's damned good with the guitar. If you get a chance to see him in concert, take it, even if you might not consider yourself a blues fan.

It got me to thinking about music in general, and to another older musician who I've seen twice. Dave Brubeck, the jazz pianist, has played here at our jazz festival twice in the last few years, and I've attended his concerts. He's well up there too, but once he sits down at that piano, it's astonishing. It's as if twenty or thirty years comes right off his age, and he's got the audience right where he wants them. Another great musician, and a legend.

That led me into thinking about the piano itself. Some of my favourite musical acts make fair use of the piano. Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, and Michael Kaeshammer (who sounds like he must have more then ten fingers when he gets to tickling the ivories) are among those musicians.

Now, what does this have to do with an airborne piano?

I remembered something that happened in my extended family some years ago. One of my cousins came into acquisition of a piano. She wanted to play herself, and was looking forward to getting it in the house. Her husband and a couple of cousins took a pick-up truck to fetch it.

Well, it seems reasonable that when you're moving such an object, you take great care in tying it down, and you drive slowly, right? When my father bought an organ, he had it tied down very carefully, and he drove very slowly when bringing it home.

Alvin tied the thing down with one rope into the back. He then proceeded to drive home. At his usual speed. You can guess what happened.  Inevitably the rope came loose. And going around a curve at the speed limit or above, well... the piano went flying.

I keep wondering what someone driving behind must have thought, seeing that piano so briefly airborne before gravity brought it slamming down onto the ground and shattering into pieces. They must have been briefly terrified, depending on how close they were.

For his part, Alvin thought it was funny. His wife? Not so much.

He still owes her a piano.

And it's a bit of a shame. A piano's a fine instrument.

If we have to destroy a musical instrument, it should be one that deserves it. Like an accordian.


  1. That reminds me of the famous Laurel and Hardy movie...where they take the piano up the stairs and well...similar results. Love your blog today and the doggy photos are too cute. Okay, the kitties are cute too. I saw B.B. once and I agree he is awesome.

  2. the kitty is the cutest and that last cartoon? hilarious now am scared to walk on the streets.

  3. As you know, William, I'm partial to critters, especially musical critters. And the piano is my favorite instrument. I always wanted to learn to play, but I can't read music, so....

  4. Love the kitty pictures William, and I'm with Norma; the piano is my favourite musical instrument. I also never learned how to read that chicken scratch called music. I never learned how to play any musical instrument because I can't make my left hand and my right hand work independently.

  5. Too funny! And love those pictures:). Hopefully, Alvin's wife will one day have the piano of her dreams--delivered! And William, in case you don't make it back to my blog today, thanks so much for the comment you left!

  6. I have my grandfather's studio piano. I'm sure the neighbors are getting tired of hearing the same repertoire over and over. It's smaller than a standard size piano. I would warn the movers that I had a piano each move, then when they saw it, they would laugh and laugh. I still feel the pain.

  7. I play the piano like I have two left hands.

  8. Well, if you were left handed like me, that wouldn't be a detriment.


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