We were moving.  There were five of us, young college folk, moving into an old house in the Sunset which was in probate.
Most of the stuff we could move ourselves, back and forth in our cars.  But there were some rather large items: a couch, an oversized desk, a bookcase and a piano.  For those items we asked an acquaintance with a small pick-up truck to help.

Our buddy Scott, always a helpful soul, skipped a class and added his muscle to the tasks that day.

The last item to go was the piano. Carefully, so carefully, it was raised and lowered gently into the pick-up bed.

Scott sat down in front of the old upright on the edge of the truck and placed his hands on the keys.  He didn’t know how to play.  But he was a great actor.  He mimed playing the instrument and sang at the top of his lungs while the truck backed out of our old drive-way and entered the traffic.

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

Scott’s hands were pumping up and down.  Every now and again they would hit a key and make a funny off-key noise.  But nothing stopped Scott.

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be

He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me”
As a smile ran away from his face
“Well, I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”

Now we were half-way to our new home.  People stared and laughed as we drove by.  Motorists gaped.  I will always remember the look on the face of a #29 — Sunset bus driver.  His bushy black eyebrows gathered in the middle of his forehead and a slight frown brought the corners of his mouth south.  But then Scott smiled at him, waved and sang louder:

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinking alone

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

Now we were turning off Sunset onto Noriega.  Residents returning home from work, looking a little grumpy would glance up and catch Scott singing his heart out (not necessarily well) and grin.  

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been coming to see
To forget about life for a while

Now Scott let everything in him out as he tore into the last stanza:

And the piano sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say “Man what are you doing here?”

Now we were pulling into our new driveway.  We stopped but Scott was still belting out the words.  We all gathered round to join in the celebration.  All 12 of us were singing with gusto:

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

We all clapped till our palms ached while Scott bowed, pretending he was wearing a tux and tails.

“Thank you, thank you!” Scott waved from the back of the pick-up.  “Ah!  There’s nothing like a little Joel to get the blood and furniture moving.”

 

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