MEXIA, Texas — Tommy Lance, an 82-year-old Mexia native, started playing the piano when he was just 13.
"I heard 'Crazy Finger Stretch' on the Grand Ole Opry," Tommy said. "I told my daddy, 'I got to learn how to play the piano.'"
He taught himself how to play, and his talent for tickling the ivory has taken him all over the world.
He's played for Johnny Cash, Sonny James and even visited the White House to perform for President Ronald Reagan in the '80s.
A few years ago, Lance faced a life-threatening challenge when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
The nervous system disorder affected the movement of Lance's body, especially in his hands.
"I mean I was crying," Lance said. "Big boys don't cry, but men do."
The aches became too much to bear and, unfortunately, forced Lance to give up what he loved.
"I hadn't played the piano in two and a half years cause of this," Lance said.
After 30 long months away from the instrument, Lance said he was visited by an angel.
"I opened my eyes and looked up, and there stood a man," he said. "He looked at me and said with such a smooth and beautiful voice, 'Do you want me to pray for you?' I said, 'Yes sir.'"
Lance believes the man's prayer worked.
"I began to feel from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet-- arthritis leaving my body," he said.
Lance's song wasn't over.
"A still small voice spoke to me in my ear and I recognized that," Lance said. "It said, 'You're going to play the piano tonight.'"
That's when Lance decided to walk inside the dining room and sit down at the piano stool at the Mexia LTC Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where he lives.
Administrator Martha Saling said she couldn't believe it.
"I could hear it all the way in my office down the hall," Saling said. "I practically ran in here to see if I was hearing what I thought I was, and Tommy was sitting there playing."
Lance said the miracle was truly a gift from God.
"I want to give glory to God because God did that," Lance said."Not the angels. Not me. Not the doctors. I appreciate the doctors, but God did it. That's why for sure I want to make sure he gets all the praise."
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