Canny Connie and the Piano - 1972, El Puerto de Santa Maria

Connie, the headmistress of the bilingual school where I teach is a canny businesswoman. When you first enter the school you see large framed posters of Oxford and Cambridge universities on the wall. They give the impression that she has graduated from one of these establishments.  The oh, so wealthy Terrys and Osbornes who send their children to her school are quite impressed by the headmistress being a a posh English person with a fancy university degree. If only they knew!

Connie doesn't have even an O level to her name. On top of that, she's not English. She's Welsh.

Connie is absolutely brilliant at getting whatever she wants at a reduced price, or even for free.

"It would be so lovely to have a piano.  I wonder how expensive it would be to buy one?" She announces one day with a wistful smile. "We could offer piano lessons to the students. The parents would jump at the chance."  Her eyes are twinkling as she calculates how much money she can make if she offers piano lessons.

Say what you want about Connie, she is indeed a canny business woman who works hard and whose one wish is for her school to develop and flourish. Therefore it is no surprise that things somehow tend to work out for her. It's as if the Gods themselves are working in aiding and abetting her.

You see, a group of Americans stops by. The leader is a stout man with a huge belly and huge teeth. He fumbles with his tie, playing with the knot, as he speaks.

"Maam.  We are a close-knit  group of Christians who want to meet and worship the Lord. We're in need of a place to hold our meetings."

"Oh?" Connie smiles, her eyes looking up at the ceiling as if thanking the Lord for bringing these Americans to her humble establishment.

"Could we use one of your rooms for our meetings? Please? We'd pay you of course."

Connie is now beaming. This is wonderful!

"It'd just be twice a week that we'd meet, in the evening. Would that be okay?"

"Absolutely." Connie can hardly believe her luck. Out of the blue she's going to be bringing in more money in the way of rent.

"One thing. I hope it's not a problem. But, we have a piano. We'd need to leave it in the room. We use it when we sing, when we praise the Lord."

Connie says nothing. I think I actually hear her brain plotting quickly what her next move will be.

"Not a problem at all. Not at all." Connie grins back before adding very sweetly, "There would, of course, be a tiny extra charge for storing your piano."

"Of course. Praise the Lord. Maam, you have made us all very happy and grateful." He turns to the rest of his group and hugs them.

Connie's eyes sparkle as she gets ready to use her trump card.

"Would it be all right if we play the piano from time to time?" she inquires in her best and poshest English accent.

"Feel free! We're just so happy and thrilled that you're allowing us the use of a room for our meetings!  Praise the Lord!"

I feel like muttering, "Amen!"

Connie has got her way again. Who would have thought that in a matter of minutes she's got herself the use of a piano? Not only that, she doesn't have to pay a penny for it, and, in addition, she's charging rent for the piano?! And, don't forget the money she'll bring in from the piano lessons!