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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Together Again...

This has been an eventful year in many ways, and yet I have blogged far less than any year since I began Patterns of Ink in 2004. I have been writing as much as ever (mostly work-related) but have not had much time for writing of a personal nature, which is the purpose of this little corner of cyberspace.

I did mention a couple weeks back that I would update you on our piano's return to its place against the living room wall. Its absence has become somewhat of a metaphor. This post is about  how it feels to have people and things together again, if only for a little while, but first a bit of a rabbit trail may be in order. [I know what you're thinking: "Tom? A rabbit trail? How unusual... Ha Ha]

“Form follows function” is an architecture dictum coined by Louis Sullivan (who was Frank Lloyd Wright's boss for six years). The same principle was later applied to office furniture by companies like Herman Miller, Inc. This understanding of man’s relationship with occupied space resulted in iconic buildings and artistic furnishings inside. But it is important to remember that the concept of “form preceeding function” is a part of creation itself. (I alluded to this in lines 4 and 5 of that poem about my father's hands in the previous post.)

The more form fits function the more natural things are in life. Unfortunately...the more something or someone becomes a natural part of our routine the more likely it is to be taken for granted. That is... until a change occurs, and suddenly that thing or person is not a part of our daily life. It's then we better understand what we once had. This is true of things and family pets, but more true of people in our lives...in the office or the work force, in politics, in friendships, in family ties (e.g. losing a parent or spouse). When the thing or person is gone, their function (the things they did) may be missed immediately, but when the form is missed--the physical presense itself-- the loss becomes more personal. This is the essence of  human relationship. [End of "rabbit trail" and back to the piano and more important things...]

The function of the piano was missed mostly by Natalie, but what we learned in the ten weeks of seeing that empty wall was that the form of the piano was also missed.

You see, that piano was purchased (used) by Julie's parents in the early 1960's in Greenville, SC. Julie and her sister played it as children. In 1988, it was given to us so Emily could begin taking piano lessons. (Through the years, each of our three girls took piano, but I think the older two would agree that Natalie not only took but was taken by piano.)

This mahogany console has been in our living room (in three different houses) for over twenty years. When the snow-buried roof leaked on it, replacing the piano was an option (costing twice as much as refinishing), but readers at POI probably know us well enough to know we did not want a new piano. Below are some photos of how crafstmen made a 65-year-old piano look like new again.

The Acrosonic was one of the best selling models made by Baldwin in Chicago in the mid 1940's.
When the roof leaked, the water dripped directly onto the piano, ruining the finish and causing the keys in the lowest scale to stick. The die from the red felt inside seeped through to the carpet below and could not be  removed. 
Have you ever wondered what the black keys on a piano look like when they are not in the keyboard? Wonder no more.
The white keys were also removed and refinished to look like new.
This is what the piano looked like the day before we left for Senior Trip.
The day after we returned from Senior Trip, we stopped by the refinishing shop to pay the bill the day before it was delivered. Natalie tested it out and was surprised that it was not terribly out of tune.
Two weeks before the wedding (which is June 10),  the long-awaited piano came back from the Van's Refinishing Shop in Spring Lake. That same day, Kim came home from Chicago to work on the wedding with Julie.

That night Natalie came home from her soccer game, and gave her sister Kim a hug (she had driven home and had picked up some carryout from Applebee's). Then Nat couldn't help but sit right down at the piano and start plunking away her recital piece. Emily and Nora were over and quite naturally Julie began twirling Nora around in the living room (as they love to do whenever Nat plays).

I'll admit that the video below may seem a bit corny. (I'm still learning a new camera and editing program, and this was good practice.) The moving men didn't even notice me, but later that night, when I picked up the camera again,  I was soon discovered and begged to quit. Natalie will not be happy that I posted this--because she's still in her soccer uniform--but it was such a moment that I couldn't resist:

The piano was home (not yet re-tuned but playable); Nat was happy; Kim was happy to be home; Emily was smiling as she watched her daughter in her mother's arms; and Julie was happy to be a grandma. Keith (Em's husband) was working at the church, and Nate (Kim's husband-to-be) was working in Chicago. As I glanced around the room, I realized that I was surrounded by the five most precious ladies in my life. It was great to be together again.

So here is our little piano coming home in a huge truck. (Seriously, this is how the insurance refinishers recommended it be returned.) But more importantly, my family is all together again as we anticipate adding one more member.

That was two weeks ago. This week, my daughter Kim came home again very early Tuesday morning (for the wedding week). Julie's parents got in from Kansas late last night. Nate's parents also arrived yesterday. Nate and half the groomsmen came over tonight for a cookout at the fire pit. Tomorrow the entire bridal party arrives for rehearsal and celebration afterwards... and then Friday is the big day!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say...even though I don't "check in" very frequently that your posts have been missed. Such excitement at your home!! The 'passages' that a family goes through as so special!! Another new season for you and your wife! It was fun to view the video...the piano is similar to the one we once had (passed down to us by my parents) and our two kids took lessons on it til it just became a "dust collector" finally and got sold to family friends. I kind of wish we'd have kept it in the family now.
WSL (now in FL)

9/6/11 9:46 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for stopping by. Yep, tomorrow is the big day. Rehearsal, etc. went well today. Weather could be a factor--might rain--but that's okay. It will be beautiful.

9/6/11 10:38 PM  

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