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  • At a recent funeral, an elderly woman too bent at the waist to walk on her own asked for an escort to the piano. Safely seated, her arms took on grace and motion as she launched into a heart-achingly beautiful piece for her neighbor and friend. Big sound from this shrunken figure. It was astounding and unexpected. When I introduced myself afterwards, she told me her name was Lorna and that she had played in hotel lobbies throughout the world nearly every night for sixty-five years. But she had not touched a piano for the past several years because she was, she confided, "too sick to care." As she listened to the rest of us offer eulogies, Though, she suddenly wanted to give something that would express her sorrow. "I toned it down for the occasion," she laughed, though I assured her the emotion came through loud and clear. I asked her if I could take her picture and she replied, "People always used to ask me that, but it's been a long time.... I used to be beautiful," she added quietly. You still are, Lorna, you still are.
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