Squeeze play

"Do you know anyone who plays the accordion? I need to find someone to entertain for an 'Italian night' event we're having," said a friend who's the event coordinator at a local casino.

She looked at me expectantly, and I stared back at her with wide eyes.

"I play the accordion," I said.

Now it was her turn to sport wide eyes.

"You do? Great! My quest is now solved," she said. "I've never heard you play."

"That's because my accordion is in the accordion hospital getting something in the bellows replaced," I said. "But I recently got a call that the accordion has now been deemed cured and ready for discharge, so I just need to get there to pick it up. The repair was really minor, but the toughest thing was finding a repair place somewhere close to Cincinnati where I could take it. I finally found a place in Kentucky."

We talked about the event details to be sure I could fulfill the event, and everything sounded good.

"I just had no idea you played the accordion. Who does that anymore? I figured I'd be looking for a player forever," she said.

"My first music lessons were on the accordion starting in the way-back days when I was in second grade," I replied. "Everybody wanted to play the accordion back in the 1950s. Although I really wanted to play the piano, we couldn't afford one at home, so the accordion was the next best thing. The accordion I'll pick up from the repair shop is the same accordion I learned on, so it's been a great and faithful instrument over all these years. This is the first and only repair happening now. Pretty good, don't you think?"

"You said it. Hurry up and go get your instrument so I can hear you play," she said.

"Sure," I responded. "I'll squeeze that in."

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