Fast-forward a number of years. One morning, Susan called and told me to be ready to go out for a drive. She and her husband would be arriving momentarily, so I had no time to shave and bathe. I threw on jeans and a tee shirt and jumped into their car. We drove into the District of Columbia, and I remarked that we were getting close to the Kennedy Center. It turned out that’s where we were headed. We went through the stage door of the Eisenhower Theatre to the stage which was filled with Steinway grands. The Kennedy Center was buying all new pianos and therefore getting rid of all its old ones. Susan told me to try the pianos and pick out the one I liked best. I was delighted. I played all the pianos, more than a dozen of them, but kept coming back to one that was a glory to hear. It finally dawned on me that this piano was the one I had played that season in the lounge. Susan, to my amazement, proceeded to buy that piano and arrange to have it delivered to my house.
A new Steinway grand at the time cost $85,000. I knew that the piano Susan bought me cost less than that—it was, after all, used. And I always assumed that Susan used the money she got from the recent sale of our family house to pay for the piano. But I recently learned that she borrowed the money and is still paying off the loan all these years later. Talk about feeling humbled . . .
I play the piano less often these days than I did in the past—I’m busy with writing, presentations, and readings from my six published books. But several times a week I allow myself the luxury of playing some Mozart and Bach (my two favorite composers) and some of my own compositions.
It is still, after all these years, the most beautiful piano I have ever played.