Sep 8, 2010

Pianos and Monster Movies

A few years back, Briana (my daughter) and I visited a piano showroom in Los Angeles County. We were greeted by George, a Germanic man sitting obtrusively behind a small desk. His broad square shoulders, ample head, and angular facial features suited his low rumbling voice. George could have rivaled Boris Karloff's Frankenstein simply by adding cosmetic scars and bolts.

Boris Karloff as Himself and Frankenstein

It wasn't that George was ugly. He just naturally had the characteristics of a classic movie monster: even more so when standing.  What balanced our first impression was his genuinely sweet demeanor.

Then we met, Max...

Max was their blind piano tuner.  He maneuvered through the showroom much like Marty Feldman's depiction of Igor (Eye-gor) in Young Frankenstein (minus the shifting hump.) He would stroke each piano almost as if he was waiting for it say something.

Later we were escorted back to the office area where we encountered Tom, the peppy owner, and his bald Chinese wife, Alice.  Alice spoke perfect English and they both easily joked about her hair loss.  Briana and I dared not look at one another.

We still laugh about this because it was so offbeat and unexpected. And, since I wasn't ready to do so, I postponed buying a piano.

We did learn something about appearances though. Tom shared with us that he and Alice run an orphanage in China. They rescue children that have been discarded due to poverty, imperfection, or just because they were born females. Tom and Alice have pulled live babies from trash heaps and adopted a few children as their own.

George — the gentle giant — helps to operate the piano business while Tom and Alice are away. And, he conducts a Bible Study in his free time.

It felt like we had entered an old movie set. Nevertheless, these unusual people had hearts of gold, and they were unreservedly surrendered to God and shedding His love abroad.

Susy DeLucca, of The Feathered Nest, summed it up like this: "Shows you can't judge a piano by it's tuner."

AN ASIDE: I recently discovered that Boris Karloff was not from Russia or any country in that region. He was born in England in 1887 as William Henry Pratt. He had an Anglo-Indian heritage and his grandmother, Eliza Julia (Edwards) Pratt, was the sister of Anna Leonowens, whose memoirs about the royal life in Siam inspired the musical, The King and I.

[The above story is true.  The names have been changed.]


  1. You just never know do you. Shows you can't judge a piano by it's tuner. Another delightful story told so well. Blessings, SD

    P.S. Great music.

  2. Ha ha ha!!! I will never forget that day. It felt like a scene right out of a comedy. But like you said, they were really sweet though. :)

  3. Thank you for a wonderfully weaved post :)

  4. What a great post. This is my first visit to your blog, but I'll be back often. I love the way you write and see the world. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. This is a really great story. And REAL life too. I like those the best.
    Just goes to show us every day...even in the oddest of places.
    That you can never "Judge a book by it's cover"....
    God always looks at the "Heart" not the outward wrapper.
    Thank goodness for that too!!


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♫ Karen