January Slipped Below the Horizon

The Christmas tree is packed away for the 16th time outliving its 10-year guarantee. Thank you cards are done. I’m  curbing my extreme disappointment that my creative gift package that went out to my beautiful great-nieces was a victim of porch pirates. and blessing on my nieces who graciously accepted this downturn of Christmas fate. 

I only found one small decoration that missed the de-Christmasing around our house.

“Are you sure everything is away?”

“Yes, yes, I told you a thousand times, we’re done…” Oops.

Christmas is in my rearview mirror and I’m looking ahead. Writing 2024 on documents is almost automatic. Despite the rollercoaster of economics, abuse of language, natural and national events that disrupt lives, and a sad focus on doom and gloom from some media sites, I find small kindnesses and generous giving that carry a big  impact.

The Piano 

A Hospital Visit

Very early in January I was visiting a friend at Tucson Medical Center. If you’ve not been there for one reason or another, it’s big. I parked in the West Parking lot, walked down two flights, around the corner and into the lobby. The walk to my destination was long but hallways are decorated with very attractive prints and paintings. Nice idea to set a pleasant tone. 

After navigating a maze of hallways and turns, I found the Cardiac Unit way over on the Eastside and my friend’s room.

After my visit I reversed directions and headed back to the West entrance. As I got near the lobby I heard some really nice piano music. 

Great idea, I thought, as people enter or exit, they’ll hear music playing over the sound system. The music was so smooth … and live.

A man was playing the piano that was over in the corner of the lobby, up against the wall. His back was to me, which I thought was a shame. You should be center court. 

The music was lovely; not jazzy, not classical. It was kind of dreamy, notes rippling up and down in harmony.

I veered away from the exit door and went over by the piano. The guy was kind of hunched over, but very relaxed. After my visit, mixed with happiness at being able to see my friend and anxiety for him, this piano music was a perfect remedy for me. 

“That is lovely,” I said. The guy glanced up at me but kept rippling. “Do you work here? Are you the piano man?”

 “Oh no,” he said turning a bit to face me. “I’m just taking my break and I like to play the piano.”

“You’re really good.”

“Well, thank you so much.” He smiled a wide smile and turned back and started playing again. 

Thank you, piano man.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She retired after 30 years of teaching, and semi-retired from coaching, and professional editing, Founder of the Eastside Writing Room based in Tucson AZ, she’s posted 100s of blogs, and is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. These days she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, teaching about the power of words, gather writers together, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys speaking and storytelling at Odyssey Storytelling, Artists Standing Strong Together, Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.