A Reflection on Parking

“Yeah well, I’m going to. If not an old Honda, at least my body.” So said a very satisfied brain … as an equally happy, jovial attitude stopped me for a mid-morning respite and a reflection on parking.

It is a Sunday in Hollidaysburg. A very beautiful Sunday, may I add. The day after I travelled 33 miles north to Patton, Pa., with the intention of playing two selections for a matrimonial celebration – one in, one out. An easy “gig” by any measure. Route 36, a pleasant 2-lane I’ve up-and-downed many times before, didn’t disappoint with its resplendent view. Large, electric generating wind turbines more than dot the landscape, but those don’t take away from the lush early-spring greenery and expansive farmland seen along the way. Saturday rushed go-abouts passed me as I took my time … ahead of schedule. Rare was that feeling in my psyche as I am not used to built-in spare time parked into my body.

The 33 minutes rushed by, however. A few wrong turns didn’t distract much once the arrival of never pushing the start icon on google maps occurred to me. The deeply disappointed virtual voice directed my calm self out from the 10 minutes incorrect destination into a more pleasing, correct direction arriving, finally, at my destination: La Ferme Rouge. The Red Farm … to a bride, a groom, a mom who hired me sight unseen, and the best use of spare time I’ve ever had.

A nice, relaxed exhale from a Honda and a pianist – as both parked calmly in the lower lot below a quaint (uhm) red farm building – was experienced by all gathered around that particular lot. Yes, I was early, but moms, dads, and groomsmen alike were pleased to see the pianist arrive. White chairs around in a semi-circle, wonderful trees ahead with a single swag strewn among their glistening, mid-afternoon branches and a small altar sat on top of a finely cut lawn. No bride or bridesmaids swooshed among us. I’m sure there was to be a few as I didn’t attend the rehearsal and was unsure the exact number … only one bride, for sure.

I was aware of Stephanie, the mom. For two reasons, I needed to be in touch with her. Payment for my services and logistics. Money, in this case, was easy. One envelope. Logistics? Simple. Where to set up my piano and that funky little problem of an electric source. All went surprisingly well during the set-up. For those of you who’ve experienced weddings as musicians, I hope you appreciate the ease and comfort in my soul as each step along the way was met with cordialness, sincerity, and kindness. I parked my easiness for a second …

…And then I had a moment to really appreciate this:

It’s a piano I noticed immediately before even turning off the engine. Actually, when turning into the lot moments before, my breath stopped and the eyes responsible for minding the 33 miles blinked and immediately wiped away the earlier missed turn. I notice pianos. Old and new. This one is special.

It’s parked in a forever home, never to make a sound other than wind turning through rotted slots and slits in the case. In the solitude of night, a whispy zephyr must sit and play this live painting while sitting on a treasured tractor seat elegantly placed perfectly behind its beautifully battered keys . If not, what a solitude for nature inside? Plants and small creatures finding sounds of the past inside to be a parking space of safety and calm for their weary selves.

I ushered bridesmaids and a bride on my arm of music as they walked escorted by young men. Beside and between two pianos they stepped. The old and new … silent and audible music pushing forward a husband and wife once again. Two people the old piano has most certainly done before and will do again. Parked in that same spot only a few yards down from a Red Farm.

Today, I remember that piano more than the wedding itself. A few tunes before, none during, and “Marry You” as the recessional. Nothing spectacular. Setting up and tearing down combined with travel time added up to six times the total ceremony minutes. “Do you?”. “I Do!” … Kind of wedding. Tears, clapping, Yeah, us … and Let’s eat! No complaints here. I left with an envelope and really cool memories of a special piano. The family was wonderful. The bridesmaids jumped the gun a bit behind the faux barn doors which made the processional a bit wonky … good thing the bride’s mom had a good laugh with me afterwards. “Dad” even commented, “Hey, welcome to my world!”.

All in all, I could not have asked for May to park a better first day to start the month. This second day, an even better day as the sun peeks through the trees on Allegheny street. I enjoyed a delicious eggs benedict breakfast a few moments ago and bask in the expectation that this month will be just fine … just fine.

Eventually, we’ll be pianos parked on our forever lawn. Silent and worn, but a joy to someone who happens by. Live for that moment.

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