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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for March, 2004

Just a piano

Saying goodbye to a musical instrument wreathed in memories

March 1st, 2004

BY LANE BROWNING

I wasn’t there for the leavetaking. I said goodbye the night before.

It was just a piano. A piano my mother bought in 1956, when her husband was stationed in Okinawa and she was bivouacing in southern California with four kids under age nine. She’d been a professional singer before she married, and she missed the piano from her childhood home; so she paid $500 and took delivery on a Winter Musette. Dark brown, compact, plucky and utilitarian — that was our piano. My older brother learned to read music in two weeks. I started plinking away when I was four, and the metronome nearly popped a cog trying to keep up with me.

It was just a piano. No cachet and no pedigree, but oh, how it held its pitch! In Thailand, it stayed in tune despite brutal humidity and the effects of the long journey. In Oklahoma, it sang in the arid dust-choked summers. In Virginia, and California… through more than a dozen moves: up stairs, over balconies, down ramps, over highways, and across rivers — it held its pitch, and upon it we tattooed the themes of our lives. Dirges, anthems, ballads and ballets. Decades of joy and routine.

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Posted by: The Editors
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