By Scott Shephard
This old piano has been in Deb's family for almost 80 years. Deb's grandma Leah bought it used to liven up their home. Eventually, it went from rural Miller, SD, where Deb's grandparents farmed, to her parents' house in Sioux Falls. A few decades later, it came to live with us in Watertown, SD. It has now followed us to three different houses.
It has no monetary value and if I'd have had my way, it would have been left behind two houses ago. But as I look at this photo, I am given a powerful lesson on the meaning of the word "value."
Deb has always said it had "sentimental value," and while I never scoffed at the idea, I failed to see how a heavy piano that caused more than one mover to curse could be something we'd hang on to. To me it was essentially a very big, somewhat ragged souvenir.
This photo helps me understand Deb's attachment. Here our son Brian sits and plays this old instrument with his youngest daughter Irene. Brian's innate musical ability came from his grandpa Clint, who first played this piano when he was very young. And, if Irene is lucky, she will inherit her father's and her great grandfather's talent.
When Irene puts her little fingers on this piano, she is the fifth generation to come in contact with an instrument that has brought music and life to every room its been in. I have a new-found fondness for this piano. But I also hope that before Deb and I move again, Brian or Ibby move it to their house. :-)
Canon 5DIII 1/20s f/4.0 ISO500 32mm
Here's an archival photo of Deb playing this very piano. It's a bit blurry, I'm afraid but that's Deb's Grandpa Arie sitting in the background.