Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 1-23-12
Tis not often I pen a “serious” column. Even when the subject is semi sober, I tend to drop a loop of humor around the topic. Here’s a story about one of the cultural differences between city dwellers and country folk – a sad but true tale. The question being: Shall ever the twain meet?
This City Mouse arrived from a heavily populated midwestern metropolis. Talented, outgoing, he has made all kinds of efforts to join in with community activities. Good intentioned as City Mouse might be, he can come a cropper with said noble intentions.
This particular boo-boo emerged when acquiring and moving a piano. Let me explain further. City Mouse plays the piano – he’s a virtuoso performer. Speaking of performing – The 10th annual Toot, Snoot, ‘n Hoot Chili Contest and Comedy Show is in the works. It’s an all volunteer production. We (the Wild West Posse Players) have more fun than is probably legal. City Mouse has joyously participated for the last couple of years as our primo pianist.
The show is scheduled in the community Civic Center auditorium. To put on a musical comedy, a piano is a necessity – a big one that would be loud enough to fill the hall with sound. We put the word out for an old-fashioned upright grand. In the “old” days, many people owned such an instrument. Today, pianos come in smaller sizes or they’re one of those techy electronic outfits. Several piano leads were followed with iffy success. Then a Country Mouse (and one of the Wild West Posse Players) offered a free upright that had sat in the same spot in a relative’s home for more than 50 years.
Our delighted City Mouse rounded up an expert piano tuner. Then City Mouse, Tuner Man and I (bonified country) drove 15 miles into the hinterlands to an original homestead ranch. Tuner Man did his thing and pronounced the instrument fit and fine. Next step … hauling the said instrument to town. Problem … the beast weighs 600 pounds. Solution … some dollies, planks, a horsetrailer, tie-downs and four cowboy volunteers.
At the Civic Center, the next challenge was: a.) getting the critter up four steps to the door b.) over the sill and through the door and, c.) up another four steps onto the stage. What can I say – there’s nothing like cowboys in Carhartts coupled with determination to get a job done.
City Mouse and yours truly mainly stood by in a supervisory capacity. After the fellows had deposited the piano at the selected spot on stage, they began to make departure moves. Which is to say, they said they had to get back to the ranch as soon as possible. I thanked them profusely and would’ve hugged each but figured they’d only be embarrassed.
As the guys trailed off the stage City Mouse asked, “Did you give the men anything?”
“Huh?” I responded brightly.
“I’ll do it,” said City Mouse and began to follow the cowboys.
“You mean money?!” I gasped.
“Well, sure,” said City.
“Don’t do that! No!”
“You’d be insulting them!”
City Mouse’s expression became one of supreme puzzlement.
As mentioned above, City owns a happy attitude and is doing his best to fit in. He didn’t understand that it’s one thing to hire help and another to tip friends and neighbors who volunteer to lend a hand. While I did not even try to explain Country philosophy to City, I do believe he’s trainable. But it may take awhile.