Grandmother’s Spinet

I never  thought much about the hereafter  until the  death of  my grandmother Bessie Donovan.  She had  been a  strong woman,  highly intelligent, and had raised  a family of six  children entirely on her own after the death of her  husband  Ed.

When her children were grown they each  went  their own way and  Grandmother was left alone.  As she  grew older and couldn’t  get around very well, Grandmother  often called on  me for help. I worshiped her and enjoyed  doing the small things she asked  of me.

One day in June 1970 she called  me and said  she wanted  me to  have her  spinet piano  and I was to  take it  right  away.  She insisted that I take  it before  she died, for she  felt her  children would not  remember it was to be  given to me.

“They would only take it  and sell it and I’d never get to  play it  again,” She said.

My twelve-year-old daughter Angela and I both play the  piano  well and  one or the other of us  often played for  Grandmother in her home. I hated to move the piano  but  Grandmother in her home. I hated to move  the piano but  Grandmother insisted she knew best.

Then suddenly   Grandmother died,  three days after we  moved the piano. One morning a few months after her death I woke up   about four o’clock thinking I heard someone playing “The  Old Rugged Cross” on the piano.

I got out of bed quickly turning on  a light, I went to the piano and touched  the keys. They felt warm. Just then Angela came in.  “Mother, the  hymn sounded lovely, but what are you  doing up so early?”

I had wondered if I had been dreaming but when  Angela spoke I  suddenly understood what Grandmother meant  when she said, “They would only sell it and  I’d never get to  play it again.”

Betty Arnold

 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

May 1974

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