REFINISHING PROJECT LAUNCHES A MUSICIAN
When I was in high school about 15 years ago, there was a gentleman from our community who would sometimes come in and use the school’s woodworking shop to perform simple tasks like refinishing an old table.
During my freshman year, I took a woodshop class and thoroughly enjoyed it, making a dovetailed box and a chess set, among other things. In the late afternoons, I would sometimes return to the woodshop and work on these projects. I would often notice that he was the only other person there.
Over time we got to know each other a little bit. That winter when he brought in a beat-up old piano into the shop to refinish, he offered to pay me to help him. It turned out he had purchased the piano at an estate auction for just a few dollars.
As winter wore on into spring, I helped a bit as he refurbished the piano, making some pocket money along the way. What I remember most vividly, though, is that he would sometimes bring his niece with him to the woodshop as he was sometimes babysitting her in the afternoons. She was about five years old. She would sit at that piano and bang away at the keys, sometimes piecing together little snippets of music that sounded quite good.
By the end of the school year the piano was finished, and the man thanked me for my help. I asked him what he was going to do with the piano, and he told me that he had already sold it—to his brother. That piano found a home in that little girl’s house.
A couple of years ago, I saw an article in a newspaper from near my hometown. That same little girl was graduating from high school. She was going to a rather prestigious college.
And she was majoring in music.
A bit of sandpaper and varnish goes a long way.