A Favorite Passage

It makes me smile and laugh every time.

And it teaches me something new every time.

With that said – enjoy!

And – to outdoor pianos!

pp. 52-53 of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Shortly after we moved into the depot, Mom decided that what we really needed was a piano. Dad found a cheap upright when a saloon in the next town over went out of business, and he borrowed a neighbor’s pickup to bring it home. We slid it off the pickup down a ramp, but it was too heavy to carry. To get it into the depot, Dad devised a system of ropes and pulleys that he attached to the piano in the front yard and ran through the house and out the back door, where they were tied to the pickup. The plan was for Mom to ease the truck forward, pulling the piano into the house while Dad and we kids guided it up a ramp of planks and through the front door.

“Ready!” Dad hollered when we were all in our positions.

“Okeydoke!” Mom shouted. But instead of easing forward, Mom, who had never quite gotten the hang of driving, hit the gas pedal hard, and the truck shot ahead. The piano jerked out of our hands, sending us lurching forward, and bounced into the house, splintering the door frame. Dad screamed at Mom to slow down, but she kept going and dragged the screeching, chord-banging piano across the depot floor and right through the rear door, splintering its frame, too, then out into the backyard, where it came to rest next to a thorny bush.

Dad came running through the house. “What the Sam Hill were you doing?” he yelled at Mom. “I told you to go slow!”

“I was only doing twenty-five!” Mom said. “You get mad at me when I go that slow on the highway.” She looked behind her and saw the piano sitting in the backyard. “Oopsie-daisy,” she said.

Mom wanted to turn around and drag it back into the house from the other direction, but Dad said that was impossible because the railroad tracks were too close to the front door to get the pickup in position. So the piano stayed where it was. On the days Mom felt inspired, she took her sheet music and one of our spool chairs outside and pounded away at her music back there. “Most pianists never get the change to play in the great out-of-doors,” she said. “And now the whole neighborhood can enjoy the music, too.”