Surprise Visitor

I went out to the garden yesterday morning for frozen sage for breakfast omelets, and my neighbor walked up from her woodpile and asked for a favor.

Without thinking, I said yes. Sunny and sharply cold, the morning was already filled with the radiance of a bit of fresh, sparkling snow. The grass crunched beneath our boots.

My neighbor’s moving, and her pump organ needed interior storage for the winter. The old, exquisitely crafted organ was made in Brattleboro, in the Estey Factory, near where I worked in college at a nursing home.

My brother, who’s visiting, says, Where are you going to put an organ?

I was on my way to work, so I mention that maybe he and my daughters could manage that one particular detail. We’re laughing at this unexpected turn of events. Who imagined an organ would arrive today?

Not one of us play. When I come home from work, the girls tell me how the neighbors’ two friends carried the organ up the icy hill and into our house. My youngest lifts the keyboard cover, puts her feet on the pedals, and pulls the stops. My brother and I look at each other. The melody, even from her untrained hands, bellows deeply, soulful.

My brother says, Wow.


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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