It's in a box labeled 'chello'

(Zach Doty, via and used under Creative Commons zero)

"Are you still giving music lessons?" I ask my stand partner, Sharon, at a rehearsal of the national orchestra in which we both play.

"I used to give lessons up until four months ago, but then the owner of the music shop came down with a mysterious disease. By the time he got to knowledgeable specialists, the disease had progressed rapidly to the point of having no treatment options. So he passed away and was only in his 60s, which is very young, don't you think?"

We looked at each other knowingly, as we're about the same age, and agreed wholeheartedly that the 60s is way too young to die.

She went on, "Now the shop owner's wife had been ill for many years, and she barely outlasted him by a few months. So that left everything up to the daughter. The daughter had worked in the shop since she was very young and knew first-hand what it takes to run a music shop, including the inventory of instruments, sheet music, accessories — plus rental instruments and lessons. She just didn't have the passion to keep the shop going, so she closed it very abruptly. Nobody could believe it. She called me with this news, so my nine cello students had to find a new location and a new teacher."

"Why not keep your students and teach somewhere else?" I asked.

"Oh, it just wouldn't be the same," Sharon reflected. "Besides, I'm happy to move on from teaching. I've retired now from my full-time administrative work, and this music shop closing is a blessing in disguise because now I can take off whenever I want to and go visit my sister who's two hours away. This is all very freeing.

"Oh, and another blessing is that the daughter just put the big items in storage and was ready to discard the small stuff. I just happened to be around when the cello items were being boxed up and headed for the dumpster. I could make use of those items, like strings, mutes, rosin cakes, and even rock stops. Charlie, one of the helpers cleaning out the store, couldn't spell "cello" so he had written on the box, "Chello." I kept that box as a reminder of him. He's such a sweet guy and a real hard worker. At this Thanksgiving time I naturally think of him and say a prayer of thanks for him. So if you need any accessories, just let me know. It will be in the box labeled chello."

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]

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