Miss Esther and Susanna had just finished lunch when the telephone rang.
Miss Esther scurried downstairs and picked up the receiver. “Good afternoon! This is Miss Esther. How may I help you?”
“Good afternoon! This is Charlie Marshmallow with the Terrier Movers.” The voice on the other end of the line was cheerful. “I have some notes here that we are to deliver a piano to you this afternoon.”
“That is correct.” Miss Esther smiled up at Susanna who was watching from the top of the stairs.
“Very good. Let me just clarify some details. Is your address Walnut House, Upper Town of Small Village?”
“Yes, it is. Our front door is on Woodland Lane.”
“Thank-you. And you are Miss Esther MaeWell?” It sounded like Charlie was making notes on his paper.
“Yes, I am.” Miss Esther reached for a small piece of paper and a pencil herself.
“Excellent. I’m calling to let you know that we should be there in about half-an-hour.” Charlie seemed to be reading something for he paused for a minute.
“That sounds wonderful.” Miss Esther made a quick note on her own paper. “Can I ask what the delivery fee will be? I’d like to have the check ready for you when you come.”
“No problem. It’ll be 23 cents.” Charlie was professional. “I didn’t realize there were stairs in the bargain. So that’s why I had to add the extra three cents. I apologize if it’s inconvenient.”
“Oh, I understand.” Miss Esther’s voice was gracious. “23 cents is fine.”
“Thanks, Miss Esther.” Charlie paused a moment. “Alright. I think that’s everything. We should be there soon.”
“Wonderful. See you then.” Miss Esther heard the click on the other end of the line and hung up the phone.
“What did he say?” Susanna was still by the stairs.
“They’ll be here in half-an-hour!” Miss Esther gathered up her full skirt and began hurrying up the stairs. “Could you do the lunch dishes while I write the check?”
“Of course!” Susanna flew towards the kitchen sink.
Miss Esther tore the actual check free carefully and then went to the kitchen. She tucked the check under the jar of honey on the table. She didn’t want it flying away while things were busy!
Miss Esther returned to the library, put her office things back in her bag and took it downstairs to be out of the way. The last thing she wanted was notecards spilling all over the floor when they were trying to move a piano!
Miss Esther went back upstairs and glided into the kitchen. “Thank-you so much, Susanna. Sometimes deliveries are earlier than they anticipate and it’s so nice to have that check written ahead of time since it was a flat rate. Sometimes when I try to write in a hurry I end up making a mistake somewhere.”
“No problem at all!” Susanna swished her dish rag around in the suds. “I like washing dishes anyway.”
Miss Esther found a dish towel and began drying the dishes Susanna had already washed. Finally everything was tucked away and the sister’s went to freshen up. They were catching their breath in the library when the doorbell rang.
Miss Esther went to answer it, Susanna just behind her. Through the glass door, they could just see a large white dog wearing a smart bow tie.
“Good afternoon.” Miss Esther swung open the door. “You must be Charlie Marshmallow.”
“Yes, I am!” The dog bowed briskly. “And this is my coworker, Barney Butterscotch.”
Miss Esther noticed another dog behind the first one.
Barney nodded gravely. “Nice to meet you, Miss Esther.”
“You as well.” Miss Esther stepped back into the kitchen. “Would you like to see where the piano is to go?”
“That is exactly what I was about to ask!” Charlie stepped into the kitchen and glanced around. “Ah! You plan to put it over there?” He pointed to the far wall of the library.
“Yes. We thought it would be the best place.”
Charlie nodded. “Would you mind if we set aside some of the other furniture till we get things settled?” He smiled. “Barney and I are pretty good sized, and so is the piano. Don’t want to break anything by mistake.”
“Of course!” Miss Esther tried not to sigh inwardly over the reality of having to rearrange everything again. “We can just push the other furniture into the kitchen.”
With help from Charlie, the sisters soon had the furniture stashed in the kitchen.
“Perfect. Thanks, ladies.” Charlie dusted off his paws. “Barney’s been waiting with the piano. We’ll just bring it right in.”
It was even larger than Miss Esther had anticipated! It was carefully wrapped in green fabric that was tied on with purple string.
“Easy, easy now. Go easy.” Charlie was giving the directions as Barney couldn’t see where he was going. “A little to the right. Perfect. A few steps this way…yes! Let’s set her down here.”
The dogs set the piano down as if it were glass. Charlie cut the purple string and Barney pulled off the green blankets. The fabric fell away and Miss Esther caught her breath.
Susanna actually gasped.
There, standing in quiet glory before them, was the most beautiful piano they had ever seen. The rich oak paneling shone in the sunlight and the white keys gleamed as if just waiting to be touched.
“Like it?” Charlie was watching the sister’s reactions.
Charlie nodded his appreciation.
“I’ll get the bench and box.” Barney disappeared back outside.
“Is this where you’d like it?” Charlie was eyeing the position of the piano.
Miss Esther glanced back at Susanna. “How does it look, Susanna?”
“Could you move it a little to the right?” Susanna studied the position of the piano from her place in the kitchen.
“Of course.” Charlie moved the piano as requested.
“There! That’s perfect.” Susanna nodded her appreciation.
Barney came back in and soon the piano bench was standing before the piano. “This box holds some extra things that go with the piano.” Barney’s voice was kind. “Miss Beverly said to send it along. I think it has a lamp and some music in it.”
“Why, thank-you!” Miss Esther’s voice was a whisper. She could hardly take it all in. It was all so much more than she’d imagined!