Monday, September 17, 2012

A birthday surprise

It is a beautiful Saturday morning in New England. Warm sun, a soft breeze, and just the tiniest hint of autumn in the air. At the appointed time, a family of four pulls into the parking lot. On the far side of the parking lot, a woman is standing on the grass playing a hammered dulcimer. The younger of the two daughters in the car gets very excited. "A hammered dulcimer!" she shouts. She herself is a musician and has wanted a hammered dulcimer for at least two years. She gets out of the car to watch and listen.

She and her sister, Mom and Dad come closer. The woman playing the hammered dulcimer finishes the tune she is playing and looks at the family just a few feet away. She approaches the younger girl, hands her the hammers and says "I believe these belong to you now". The girl looks very confused and a little scared. The woman puts her arm around her and gently guiding her up onto the grass says, "Let me show you your new hammered dulcimer". Standing in front of the instrument, the girl looks at her dad. "This is very confusing". The woman says "Happy Birthday" and calls her by name. The girl said "For real"? The woman smiles and nods.

Laughing, Mom and Dad step up onto the grass and introductions are made all around. The woman teaches the girl a little about how the instrument is set up, shows her all of the books and goodies she brought and passes on a few tips. "Your dad has my email address, so if you have any questions or just want to stay in touch, please feel free". Hugs all around, a financial transaction completed, one more photo and the woman heads home.

A dear friend advised me not to sell the dulcimer. He was afraid that I'd regret it down the road. You know who you are and I love you for your concern. But I've barely touched it for three years. This is an instrument that loves to sing. It has a beautiful voice and needs to be played. I have passed it on to someone who is going to love it and play it. When her dad emailed me with these photos, he said that they set it up when they got home and she's already working on 2 tunes. She's telling everybody about the whole experience. We did good!

I'm grateful that I was able to play such a pivotal role in making this a birthday she will always cherish and remember!


  1. How awesome! I'm crying just reading the story. I hope you cried tears of joy for both the instrument and the little girl! ~SS

    1. I did get a little choked up when I handed her the hammers. There was definitely a joyful part, but there was also saying goodbye. A very special day for all of us.

  2. Wow girl I think you changed a life! what a beautiful story - thank you for sharing with us. As difficult it was for you to say good-bye, it is nice to know that it will "play on" with that little girl.
    Your willingness to let go, made a HUGE impact on her life. Just think, she may go on to do wonderful things with that dulcimer!