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Rachel’s father passed away some 14 years ago and left us many piano’s and organ’s. We wanted only one, the baby grand piano that he had converted into a player piano. The only problem was that we didn’t have anywhere to put it.

Ironically, a friend allowed us to put it at Faith Community Church (where I am now Pastor) but after moving it there at our expense the Pastor there said it couldn’t stay. Fortunately we were blessed to be able to loan it indefinitely to a senior living center about 45 minutes away.

I always wondered if we would be able to get it back someday if we had the room. We didn’t really make a written agreement and wondered if it would be like the under cover agent that goes into jail with only the warden knowing and then the warden dies.

Years later we have room at the church. Beyond that, I lovely member has stated that she’s 90 and won’t have a keyboard played at her funeral (granted, nothing is wrong with her). So, it was time to get the piano back. I communicated with the community contact that facilitated our lending of the piano to the living center. He no longer has any contact with them. I call the property manager…6 times over 2 months but get zero response.

I took matters into my own hands. I went out one day with the hopes of running into someone and at least confirming that it is still there. Of course, the building is secure and the 2 very senior ladies sitting in the lobby have no intention of letting me in. I walk around the outside of building to just see if I could see it the window but stop as I don’t want to get arrested for peeping into senior living window.

Then, I notice a car pulling in. I figure I might just be able to follow the person in as they enter the building. I pretend to be on the phone as the nice lady walks up. Brilliantly I chose honesty rather being shifty and began to speak with her. As it turns out she not only is the one that plays the piano but was there when we dropped it off! Merna invited me in and took me up to her room. I hesitated the entire way and offered to stay in the lobby. She insisted I followed. The entire situation was so surreal. She had researched the piano and had documentation of when we lent it to them. As it turns out the piano was made in 1856.

Merna said she’d vouch for me to the property manager IF I replaced the piano with another one. I obliged with no real idea how I’d get her one. She gave me her information and offered to let the movers in for the swap regardless if the property manger ever called me back. THE HEIST WAS ON! However, I needed an accomplice.

Enter Becky Fenoglietto! I immediately called my good friend remembering that she had been desperate to get rid of her piano six months earlier. What better partner in (not really a but could be a) crime than an attorney? She was not only willing but excited!

Then, sadly, things changed. The new property manager called (Merna called her) and said that we could make the swap. Sure, things were easier now and more on the up and up, but the excitement was gone. Becky and I will have to find another way to push the envelope of legality and righteousness. That being said, she is now rid of her piano (she made me put it in writing that it was a donation and NOT A LOAN), and my lovely wife has her piano back where it belongs.

Sadly, we’ve potentially made it easier for that funeral to take place…I blame Merna.

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