DALLAS — At Texas Health Hospital Dallas, 84-year-old grandma Genia Milton is sitting down to plunk out a few tunes on the piano in the lobby.
Milton has been giving piano concerts in the hospital's main foyer since her husband had back surgery here about seven years ago.
Stressed out that day, she spotted the grand ivories, which have long been a source of comfort to her. Her daughter asked the person at the desk if her mom could play. They said, "of course!"
"And that did it," Milton said. "I've been playing here ever since."
Milton was classically trained at The Julliard school in New York. In World War II, she started playing clubs and never returned to school.
She has given recitals all over the country.
"My mother always told me growing up, 'You've been given a gift.' She said use it wisely. And I do. I try to, anyway," Milton said.
Hospital staff, patients and visitors — with their mouths agape — can't believe the gift of hearing and seeing Milton's amazing fingers fly across the keyboard — and that's despite a broken left wrist that's pieced together with bolts.
Milton's husband of more than 60 years passed away two years ago. But she still plays — for free — in the hospital lobby twice a week for others who need a lift.
And the reviews?
"This is like a breath of fresh air to hear this," one woman said. "Thank you so much!"
"Just comfort, hearing her play," said another listener. "I just think it's incredible!"
Milton said she observes the people who pass by as she plays. "You can watch them walking. And if they hear the music, then there's a little lilt to the step... "You can tell," she said, adding: "As long as my fingers move, I'll play."