I was playing for a brunch one Easter Sunday at a prominent country club in a nearby city when this sweet older couple approached me between songs complimenting me on my playing and song choices. They introduced themselves as James & Shirley and they were making comments about my music pad. At some point during our conversation, they whispered among themselves saying, “Should we tell her?” The other saying, “Oh…I don’t know, do you think we should?” And before anymore was said, the wife bluntly spoke, “You look exactly like our mannequin.” By this time, their grown son had approached, heard the conversation and said, “It’s true, you look just like her.”
My mind racing, I asked, “What do you mean?” Shirley went on to tell me that they have a beautiful grand player piano in their home, but that it sat there all by itself with no one to play it. She said that one day; she went to some kind of sale and found a bald, naked, female mannequin who was in the sitting position, with her hands extended as if she was playing the piano. She immediately purchased it and lugged it home.
She continued on telling me she sat that naked, bald mannequin on her piano bench and left her there, just like that (bald and naked) for weeks as she pondered exactly what to name her, what to dress her in and what kind of hair style she should have. It had to be perfect.
She told me that eventually she chose a black flowing gown, named her Cynthia and chose a black wig with a Cleopatra hairstyle, which was exactly how I wore my hair.
Shirley arranged the room so that you cannot see the mannequin’s hands when you enter the room. James told me that when they throw parties, they turn on the player piano and their guests do not notice that Cynthia is a mannequin right away; at first glance they think the couple hired a piano player. Once it is realized, everyone has a big laugh. They say she’s a wonderful addition to their parties, a great conversation piece!
Now, at this point I was thinking all of this was funny, kind of strange and rather hard to believe, but their son assured me that it was all true. He said to prove it to me; he would take a photo of it and email it to me. I rather doubted that I would ever hear from them again, but gave him my business card anyway.
A couple of weeks passed and I kind of forgot about the incident until one day, there in my inbox, was an email from an address that I did not recognize. I opened it up and there was a picture of Cynthia, dressed up exactly as they said, sitting at their grand piano!
After studying the photo, I decided she really didn’t look much like me after all. She was way too tall and much too thin!