The piano was very lonely. The Jones family put the Christmas tree up in the room with the television this year. Then they spent the holidays in there watching movies and playing video games.
No one came in to visit. Not even to sing Silent Night or to try to pick out the melody of a cartoon theme song. It seemed like they’d forgotten him completely.
The piano hoped that after Christmas, things would return to normal. But, even with the tree gone, the family didn’t come back. That was it, he decided. It was time to remind them of all the fun times they’d had together.
He slipped down the hall, passing the room where the television was making terrible noises. It sounded painful. He paused outside the kitchen. Mrs. Jones was humming and doing dishes.
Oh, he recognized that tune. Mrs. Jones played it often. The piano started to play along. Mrs. Jones looked up. The piano hid behind the corner before she could turn around. When he heard footsteps, he scurried down the hall and waited in place.
“I thought I heard…” Mrs. Jones said. She looked around. “I guess not.” She sat down and started to play. Success!
She eventually went back to the dishes, but the piano was pleased. One down, three to go. Take that, noisy television.
When Mr. Jones went down the hall to change, the piano followed quietly. It softly played Broadway show tunes outside the door and then hurried back to wait. Mr. Jones came back down the hall singing.
He sat at the piano and sang loudly. Baby Amanda came in and clapped and giggled. Mrs. Jones sat in the armchair and started knitting. The piano felt warm and cozy and part of the family again.
All too soon, it was dinnertime and the family left again. The piano was alone. He played softly to himself and thought. There had to be some way to remind James and Jordan to come practice.
The next morning, the piano waited by the television room and played cartoon themes. There was no reaction. He played the theme of Jordan’s favorite television show. “Did you hear that?” James asked.
“Nope,” Jordan said.
The piano played a dissonant chord in disgust. He tried playing some scales as an unsubtle hint. James turned up the television. The piano played a sad little tune in a minor key and shuffled sadly down the hall.
When he reached his room, baby Amanda was waiting. She clapped her hands and squealed. “Piano,” she said. Then she started stomping on his pedals and pounding on his keys.
Ouch! This was alarming. Wasn’t anyone going to come save him? If he broke would they chop him up for firewood? Would he never play Silent Night again?
Then an angelic voice floated down the hall from the kitchen. “James, go get the baby,” Mrs. Jones said.
“Fine,” James said. He started stomping across the hall.
“And while you’re in there, practice the piano,” Mrs. Jones said.
“But Mom,” James said.
“You’ve had over a week off. You don’t want to start losing all your hard work.”
James took Amanda away and returned. He grumbled at first, but finally relaxed and started playing. Jordan was sent in to practice next. The piano was happy. He had all his family back. Thank you, Mrs. Jones!
That evening, the piano played softly to himself and thought. There had to be some way to teach Amanda to play nicely. This might be the toughest problem yet, but he wouldn’t give up.
Two weeks later he gave up. Babies only learn things when they’re ready to learn them. The best thing to do is wait. And try to hide his keys when he sees her coming.