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Smelly Socks: It all comes down to the pedals

March 13, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 12, 2014 at 10:13 p.m.


Recently, some of my cousins have decided to ditch the harsh, dusty and dry ranch life. They live close to us, and they have enjoyed living on the ranch all of their lives.

But it was time for a much-needed change, and they are headed for retirement in East Texas. They are ready for the carefree life of living on a lake. This will be a different pace for them but one that they are so excited to make and have really been looking forward to.

They have bought their new house, and a boat is on the way. I am going to miss having them close, as they have always felt like immediate family. They spent nearly every holiday with us, and our boys just adore them. Although I am going to miss them dearly, I am happy for them as well.

Since they are making this huge change and moving nearly seven hours away, they have decided to lighten up their load. They have an antique Baldwin piano that they felt needed a new home. Since neither of them play the piano, they decided it was better to pass it on to someone else in the family. Knowing that Jamison has been plugging away at piano lessons for more than a year now and is using a keyboard to practice on, my cousins called and asked if Jamison would want his very own piano.

Jamison spoke with them on the phone, and he breathlessly asked, "But does it have pedals? I really like piano pedals. My teacher taught me all about the pedals. They are so cool, and my keyboard doesn't have any."

His face lit up with excitement after they assured him that the piano has three fully functioning and shiny brass pedals. Jamison was just thrilled and in a little disbelief at his good fortune.

So Sunday, we went to pick up the piano. We arrived in my husband's truck with a trailer hitched to the back. We had it all planned out. We were just going to pick up the piano, drive it home and put it into place at our house - nice, easy and all done. At least that was our plan. But as I have recently learned, things are never really that easy.

Do you happen to know how heavy a piano is? How heavy a piano is that was made back when they used real steel? I am sure that most people can imagine that they are heavy - very heavy.

However, I had never really given it too much thought. I knew they were not light, but I have never personally moved one. Pianos are huge, bulky and must be treated somewhat delicately as not to damage the keys, legs or any of its inner workings.

I was witness to my husband, John, who is still recovering from his Colorado sledding accident, and our cousins straining for 45 minutes to get it loaded up into our trailer. A few scuffed knuckles, a lot of protruding veins, sets of bulging eyes and much huffing and puffing later, they succeeded.

The piano was loaded and ready for its trip to its new home. Then I remembered a very important detail that somehow escaped me in all of my planning: This enormous piece would have to be unloaded.

After driving very slowly home, John pulled it into our driveway. Jamison already made plans of playing the night away on his "new to him" piano. John went to one side of the piano and Austin, my 13-year-old, and I, got on the other. Jamison thoughtfully reminded us all to "lift with your legs, not your back."

We let out some grunts, and we barely made the piano budge. After 40 minutes of straining and wheezing (coming from me - when lifting something heavy, I have to remember to breathe), it was a lost cause. Somehow, we were able to slowly and cautiously tuck the piano into the garage for the night.

After a couple of days of the piano relaxing in our garage and Jamison's pleading to perform a piano concert, reinforcements finally arrived. My Dad, in a well-earned supervisor role, brought Nacho Man and Little Joe, (as Jamison affectionately calls them) the two jack-of-all trades that work for Popsy.

Between Nacho Man, Little Joe and supervisor Popsy, the piano was no match. Embarrassingly, it was rather easily maneuvered into just the right spot with what seemed like very little effort. I guess Jamison's observation was correct: "It takes a professional to do a job just right."

In Jamison's impressionable eyes, no one is as professional as his beloved Nacho Man. With hearing all of the praise from Jamison, Austin let out a groan from the living room as he was flexing his teenage bicep. Austin then explained that if he "hadn't been so sore from moving it into the garage earlier," that he and his "Dad could have handled it all themselves."

Like most women, I take pride in making my home look its best. So, naturally, I was a little apprehensive if I liked where the piano was finally placed. Astonished that I considering moving it, Jamison nicely suggested that it shouldn't be moved from its final resting place.

"Mom, do you realize that they just moved a whole, entire piano?" Jamison continued. "Honestly, please have some respect for those pedals. We don't want them damaged."

I laugh as it all comes back to the pedals that intrigue my youngest son.

I like to blame it all on his very clever and sweet piano teacher. She knows my boy so well and is miraculously able to keep a fidgety, very curious and a constructional-minded 10-year-old boy interested in piano. It all boils down to those precious pedals and figuring out just how they work.

Johanna is a proud seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at smellysocks@vicad.com.

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