Angels on South Van Ness

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I picked up a voice message at the shop Thursday and passed it on to Jim (The Reed Organ Man) who was at home with a bad knee.  It turns out a very nice guy Simon Palmer was moving to Vancouver BC and was about to abandon his 1860 Bertheaux Harmonium over in San Raphael.  His departure was scheduled this weekend.  Neither friends nor family wanted the instrument.  I whizzed over on Friday to pick it up.

The instrument crossed the bridge back to our place on South Van Ness, its temporary home until we can get it to the shop.  I was standing in the bed of the truck trying to figure out how to unload the instrument.  For the record, a 150 year old French Harmonium is heavy.  Did I mention the Bertheaux is very rare?  I needed a miracle.

Almost magically, two complete strangers, Tim Koelkenbeck and Kegan Quimby, stopped and offered help.  I said, half jokingly, “You bet, there are two opportunities.  Either help me get this monster unloaded and placed or call 911 when I try do to it myself.”  They laughed and we set to work.

Unloading went smoothly and the Bertheaux was in the back room.  Tim and Kegan were lifesavers.  I asked if they played a keyboard.  Tim said “yes,”  sat down, and began improvising on the 150-year-old Harmonium.  He was a powerhouse.  Soon music came from each of the four instruments scattered around our place.  He even played an off-the-cuff duet with his friend. Of all the instruments played Tim preferred the Farrand and Votey in the front room because it sounded “really creepy.”

To me, it all sounded like voices from heaven.  Tim and Kegan will forever be the angels of South Van Ness to me.

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