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On a Monday morning in March 2012, I awakened and turned on my computer for the Internet. There was a picture of a shiny, beautiful, ebony, Yamaha seven foot grand piano on the screen, with a caption under the picture: “WE KNOW IT IS WORTH MORE, BUT WE MUST SACRIFICE TO SELL QUICKLY. MOVING TO PITTSBURGH.” The owner happened to be a member of my congregation.
As an introduction to this story, I must mention that I was just given the OK by the Calusa Harbour management to recommend at good piano for our lounge. It was to replace a very old unsatisfactory Baldwin grand that has seen it’s day of usefulness many years ago. It just had to go.
They were just three conditions set by Calusa Harbour’s central management. It must be a new piano, the dealer must be local who could service the piano, and have a manufacturer’s warranty. It would take about six or more months for the funds to be allocated, after approving the purchase at the headquarter level. A painfully long time to wait while we would have to use the old, poor sounding, poor playing and embarrassing relic.
At the request of management, I researched the piano market. The lowest price for a satisfactory piano would be at least $40,000. It was a Boston Steinway, manufactured in Japan under a Steinway license. A good piano, but a big step down from the high quality well known for the original Steinway grand. A seven-foot Steinway was a little too expensive for our needs, but the Boston piano would be adequate for Calusa Harbour entertainment. I made the recommendation to management. Now for the wait for $40,000.
That’s when God winked and I saw a seven-foot glistening ebony Yamaha grand for sale, right in front of me on the screen of my computer. Just what we needed. I called the owner. In 15 minutes, I was in the owner’s house with my resident friend Hal Schweiger. It looked great. The price was right. We gave the owner a check on the spot subject to inspection by our piano technician, whom I called. He just happened to be in the neighborhood. He was there in 15 minutes and gave us the go sign. He did however find an indication that in the near future, it could need a repair. The owner had to make a quick sale, so they reduced the price $2,000 to compensate for any possible repairs. Hal and I called two other Calusa residents to join us for a contribution. They were residents Dottie Penn and Bill Noble. We raised the total sum for the piano in minutes and closed the deal within the hour.
We now owned a fantastically beautiful ebony seven-foot Yamaha grand piano that looked and played like new. It was a considerably better model than the new one I recommended. Four of us participated. We bought it and gifted it to the residents of Calusa Harbour. Management saved $40,000 for their budget. The technician even removed the old relic, which pleased everyone in the residence.
You can call it luck, serendipity or whatever you choose. But, we called this a “God Wink” because it happened in almost the wink of an eye. Seeing the ad, going to the piano owner’s house, having a tech inspection, raising the money, moving the piano to our lounge, all tuned up and ready to play, getting rid of the old monster, and saving management $40,000 – all happening between 9:00 AM and noon time. We were in concert that very afternoon, live at Calusa Harbour.
A few days later, a new resident, Jolene Wells, moved into Calusa Harbour. In addition to being a pretty lady, she is an accomplished pianist. That happening was the second part of our “God Wink”. As of this writing, Jolene entertains the residents of Calusa three times a week, as a most welcomed and treasured feature of our Calusa in house entertainment programming.
At church the very next Sunday, during a routine segment we call “Joys and Concerns”, I announced my Joy and explained the piano incident as it happened. Everyone clapped. On the way out the door, the Pastor said to me, “You know Russ, I wanted that Piano!” I replied, “Pastor, I’m sorry for your loss, but overjoyed with our good fortune. You could have prayed. We called it our ‘God Wink’. Better luck next time.”