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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

By Patricia Williams


An Ear To Hear

“Oh, Daddy, the Philharmonic Orchestra was wonderful. They dimmed the lights, then the huge curtain opened and the orchestra started playing...I got goose bumps all over. All of the instruments came together and told a musical story. There was the biggest grand piano I’ve ever seen. The musician’s hands ran up and down the key board like they were dancing. It was awesome!”.

“You had a great time then?”.

“You know I did,” she said smiling, sitting down on the stool next to him. “It would be so fantastic to give such a grand performance. What a beautiful way to thank God for the wonderful things He’s given us.”

“Daddy, could I have a piano some day? I would practice a lot,” she promised with sincerity..

Patty was definitely musically inclined. She played the Baritone and Trumpet in the school band. “Maybe some day, Honey,” he said knowing it couldn’t be now. His long illness and job at a used car lot made it hard to get by.

It was obvious Patty’s desire for a piano intensified as the weeks went by. Dinner conversations became an educational experience. “Did you know John Astor was one of the first people in the United States to own a piano? He had it transported all the way from England. He was the one who made it possible for them to be built in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Boston in the 1700's. By the 1800's the piano had become a piece of household furniture.” she blurted out almost without taking a breath.

“Mom, she’s at it again,” Barbara complained as she ate her spaghetti.

“This is a good buy for you, Mr.Young,” Mr. Heaston declared as he patted the fender of the car.

“I’m a little short on cash. Would you take an old player piano as partial payment?” the client asked as he looked longingly at the car.

“You’ve got a deal if the piano is at my house before Patty gets home from school!”

Patty ran in the door, sat her books on the end table and plopped down in her Dad’s recliner to catch her breath. Suddenly she caught sight of the large upright piano standing against the back wall.

“Where did this come from?” she asked, of no one in particular, as she sat down on the stool.

“It needs a lot of work, Baby, “ her father acknowledged as he stood by her side.

“Oh, Daddy, it’ll be great when it’s fixed,” she said giving him a big hug.

The piano player part had to be removed first. Several of the keys didn’t play, some of the ivories were missing and there were pedal problems.

Her father helped her get the piano apart so she could see how it functioned. She drew a meticulous sketch of the inside and labeled each piece so she’d know where to put the new parts. The metal base was full of wire strings and little wooden pieces with felt on them that were attached with leather straps.

She did extra jobs for the neighbors to earn enough money for the needed parts. The process took a long time but finally the box of parts arrived in the mail. The note inside read,”The drawing you sent looks like all the parts are pretty old. I’ve sent you a whole set of each of the felts, hammers, and bridal straps. Good luck with your project.”.

Patty was rewarded for her perseverance when each note actually made a sound She used her
ear for music to tune it the best she could. But, it desperately needed tuned professionally. She waited patiently for the piano tuner to answer his phone. She explained her situation, “I don’t have any money but I could clean your house and do any sewing you need if you would tune my piano.” Her father watched from an adjoining room. Noting the look of disappointment on her face he walked over and took the phone.

“Sir, I’m Patty’s father. “Would you need any kind of car repair that I could trade for your service? “ he questioned. “Great, then you’ll come today. Thank you,” he said as Patty squealed with delight.

Supper was finished with great haste and all were ushered into the family room where Patty played her first “concert” piece with one finger. For her father, the performance was better than any Philharmonic Symphony he could have ever attended.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler03/16/07
I enjoyed your story; it held my interest. But as I read I kept thinking, "Patty is just too good to be true." I haven't met any modern-day kids this ambitious. Restoring the piano herself? Come on, this is a job for an expert.
I didn't write this piece but I know who did. This is not a fictional piece and she DID do just as is written. She also married a minister and was the pianist for the church for years. She's a senior citizen so she's not a modern day kid.
So, read and enjoy the adventure of a very determined young lady of 11 years old. Truth is sometimes harder to believe than fiction.
Julie Arduini03/16/07
This was simply lovely and for me, totally believable. What I loved most was the love this father had for her. It was evident and moving. Very well done!