Palabras Pintorescas: Summer adventures bring back special memories

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By Editha Bartley

Summer brings yard sales, and yard sales bring friends from near and far for a brief visit, while shopping for just the perfect one-of-a-kind item that we just can’t live without. The very recent Pendaries Ladies sale was fun, and very near by.

As I browsed through the many treasures there just waiting for a new home, someone lifted the lid on the upright piano almost hiding in the corner of the room, and suddenly very familiar notes were filling the air. I had no idea the piano was for sale, and happily a friend and neighbor’s son talked his mother into buying it for him. The piano will have a very good home, and I know he (he is in high school) will soon make beautiful music on it. My family has always had a piano, and my father and his sisters often tickled the ivories, just for fun. That meant sweet brother Bill and I had to take piano lessons. I suffered through five long years of this torture, and can’t play a scale correctly, let alone read music coherently. Bill actually had some musical talent and played a reasonably good sounding clarinet in various high school bands, to his credit.

The Monday morning history program on KFUN radio with Jesus Lopez is always fun, and Greg Loera was a guest again last week. Greg kept our saddles and tack repaired, and resoled our boots and shoes for years ... a very necessary part of running a ranch.

They were visiting about the Fiestas of old, and Greg mentioned Lencho Sacoman, who was an incredible local musician. He could play any tune and song you’d request, by ear on the piano. He played in most of the night spots in Las Vegas, and he had a talented group of musicians that would accompany him. He and my doctor father were good friends, and when Doc learned our son John planned a late summer wedding here at the ranch, he asked Lencho to bring his band to play for this big outdoor event.

Doc had no idea (remember, he was a scientist, not a real handy person) what moving an old, upright piano from our house to the creek entailed. After this back breaking experience Johns father, big boss Jim, told anyone that would listen that we would never, ever move that piano out of the house again, regardless of the importance of the event. This piano has only been moved once since then, moved into the new house that replaced the original house. Jim always figured it would fall through the floor of the old house, because it was so heavy. But, it does stay tuned remarkably well, possibly because it has a very heavy steel back.

Lencho and his wonderful way with the piano and his band really did make the wedding a fun, memorable event. And he did record many of his special selections on tape.

Hopefully someone in the local musical field has a copy of this tape that can be transcribed, redone as a CD. Music like this is such a real part of the area’s vital and artistic history. Lencho also played a real mean accordion, and I can still hear him (Jim) muttering silently as he struggled to load, haul, unload, then reload, haul and unload that piano: “Why didn’t Doc just ask him to play the accordion?”

I don’t imagine pianos show up very often at yard sales, but I’m very glad this particular piano that was just sold is going to a good home. I don’t envy the moving event this will entail, however! We’ve been there and done that.

Editha Bartley  lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.