Saturday, October 07, 2006


Tonight found me in the front room of what once was Stockholm's Post Office and General Store listening to a grand piano pour forth the musical strains of Chopin and Prokofiev, among others. The charming old building is in the process of rennovation and the first floor now is home to Dr. Paul Wyse, a professor of piano performance at the Crane School of Music. And this once public area is now his living room. A favorite young man was participating in a semi-private piano recital being hosted by Paul. Julia and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend.

Before the playing commenced I sat in my seat, taking in the uniqueness of my surroundings. The original shelves and drawers were still in place, the hardware burnished and true to period. Just inside, above the front double glass door, was the sign which at one time hung outside, declaring to every visitor in town that this was the place for letter postings as well as for purchases of penny candies and drygoods. I couldn't help but imagine the shelves stocked with wares and the shopkeeper's hands which regularly touched these drawer pulls, proudly extracting each specially asked for commodity. And over there, where the kitchen counter now stands I imagined the postal counter. As I looked down, I wondered how many feet had strolled across these wooden floors and what other paths those same feet had followed. This was the meeting place of many neighbors and friends, possibly for generations. Somehow that always astounds me.

Soon the music began. I sat among afficionados -- people far more educated and trained in this art form than I. There were people of prestige as well. Just ahead of me sat the president of Potsdam State with his wife. Looking back I recognized various music professors. The couch had been reserved for a dear choral master, long since retired, and his ever faithful lifelong companion. How is it possible that they are still at every performance I manage to attend here in the North Country? Next to them sat the head of ONNY's board whom I had just met. And then there was me. Together we all quieted to hear the music which was at last beginning. We enjoyed duets, movements of concertos, and even some original pieces by Arthur Frankenpohl, a longtime Potsdam resident and composer. Ah! Beautiful. It is hard to beat fine music in a setting like this.

We mingled and visited a bit. I don't cross paths with these folks often so I wanted to catch up with the ones I know. We shared stories and cookies before saying our thank you's to the host and giving final farewells to new and old acquaintances.

So now my footsteps have walked that floor. They have been added to the multitude of those from another time. I wonder who else will contribute their step and their conversation in this place? And more importantly, who else will bring with them the Spirit of the One True God?

I shared my life in small measure, for a brief moment this evening, with these people with whom I share a common love of beautiful music. I prayed that my feet would be shod with the gospel of peace. And I prayed that I would reflect His great goodness.

Maybe, just maybe, my footprints will have a lasting impact.